Center for Transportation and the Environment wins grant to deploy 30 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in Northern California

photo of XCIENT cell electric trucks
Center for Transportation and the Environment/Courtesy
The Center for Transportation and the Environment was awarded a grant to deploy 30 Hyundai XCIENT Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks. Being zero-emission with a range greater than 400 miles, the trucks will primarily be used to ship goods.

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The Center for Transportation and the Environment, or CTE, was awarded a grant by the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission to finance the deployment of 30 Hyundai XCIENT Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks.

The trucks are zero-emission and have a proven range of more than 400 miles, according to the CTE press release. With a single fill of hydrogen, they will be capable of traversing from Oakland to Sacramento, Fresno, Modesto and Stockton.

“This project will be the largest commercial deployment of Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks in the United States,” the press release reads. “Thanks to the endorsement and support from the City of Oakland and the port of Oakland, these trucks will service the entire northern California region.”

The UC Berkeley Transportation Sustainability Resource Center, or TSRC, will be aiding in the project through research and outreach efforts, according to the press release.

The enterprise is intended to reduce tailpipe emissions in the short-hauling trucks that go through the port of Oakland, according to Timothy Lipman, co-director of the TSRC.

“There’s a huge diesel pollution problem at the Port of Oakland,” Lipman said. “The process will be a mix of zero-carbon and low-carbon, but it will completely remove the tailpipe emissions of the trucks from the Port of Oakland, so it has a very direct environmental impact.”

Lipman noted that the trucks will impact the low-income communities in Oakland and surrounding areas that are disproportionately affected by trucking pollution.

According to Lipman, the trucks will be operated by a company called Glovis America, Inc. He added that although the trucks might be used to haul hydrogen in the future for a station being built in Emeryville, their primary function will be to ship goods for the company.

“This project will also establish a high-capacity and high-throughput liquid hydrogen fueling station built and operated by FirstElement Fuel,” the press release reads. “With hydrogen fuel provided by Air Liquide, the hydrogen station will support up to 50 trucks and back-to-back fueling.”

Researchers involved in the endeavor are working closely with the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project and campus’s Goldman School of Public Policy to aid policy and outreach efforts, according to Lipman.

Lipman added that he collaborated with Jaimie Levin, CTE director of West Coast Operations, to put together a grant proposal and win funding for the project.

“What we bring to the table is our data analysis, and sort of network simulation capabilities,” Lipman said. “Our role is as the number crunchers and data people who take the information and turn it into public-facing reports and journal articles.”

Most of the remaining work on the project will require government certification, which may take some time, according to Lipman. He said he expects to see the hydrogen station built and the trucks deployed by 2024.

Contact Kavya Gupta at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @kavyaguptta.