Hyundai Debuts HDC-6 Neptune Hydrogen Truck Concept

Hyundai Motor's vision of zero carbon emission in its trucks is realized in the company's recently-unveiled hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric truck, the HDC-6 Neptune.

Featuring a futuristic design, Hyundai claims that the truck's design cues are actually inspired by the past--the 1930s to be exact, with a streamlined bullet shape exterior and Art Deco theme that looks like an updated version of the railway trains and diners from the early to middle 20th century.

Representing an evolution of the Class 8 truck, the HDC-6 Neptune’s striking aesthetics is capped off by a large grille that wraps around the lower portion of the cab and integrated with steps. But more than just a design quirk, it's pretty functional, as it helps maximize cooling for the fuel cell.

"The fuel cell powertrain gave us the opportunity to redefine the classical typology and architecture of the truck," said Luc Donckerwolke, chief design officer for Hyundai Motor Group. "The Hyundai Commercial Vehicles Design Team started with a white sheet of paper focusing on the new defined functionality resetting all standards in order to project commercial vehicles in the future."

No mechanical details have been released, but the South Korean manufacturer revealed its plans to deploy 1,600 fuel cell trucks in Switzerland, with deliveries scheduled to commence beginning this year until 2023. However, these trucks will have a more conventional design.

The Swiss-bound fuel cell electric truck features a new 190kW hydrogen fuel cell system with two fuel cell systems connected in parallel, similar to the one found in the NEXO. Expected to deliver a single-fueling travel range of approximately 400 kms, the trucks will be equipped with eight large hydrogen tanks being compactly installed, utilizing cavities and spaces within the truck such as between the cabin and the rigid body.

"By showing HDC-6 Neptune, the first hydrogen-only concept for Hyundai Motor Company's commercial vehicles, we will start exploring opportunities in the United States commercial vehicle market," said Edward Lee, Head of Hyundai Commercial Vehicle Business Division. "Furthermore, we are willing to work with other partners to pave the way to establish a hydrogen ecosystem for CV.|

Aside from the truck, Hyundai also unveiled the HT Nitro ThermoTech concept trailer which provides a more efficient way of cooling cargo. Developed with Air Liquide, cryogenic refrigeration company, the HT Nitro ThermoTech concept trailer's carbon footprint is up to 90 percent less than a traditional unit.

"HDC-6 NEPTUNE, the concept for the next-generation fuel-cell electric truck, embodies Hyundai Motor's vision of mobility for a global hydrogen society, innovatively developed applying Hyundai designers' creativity and the company's advanced technology," said SangYup Lee, Head of Hyundai Design Center. "To maximize the potential of a next-generation fuel-cell electric vehicle, HDC-6 NEPTUNE delivers groundbreaking futuristic architecture. In particular, one can understand Hyundai’s novel approach to the interior design of the space and in capturing lifestyle-oriented mobility."

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