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H2Accelerate’s Hydrogen Truck Project: Realistic Solution or Greenwashing?

H2Accelerate’s Hydrogen Truck Project: Realistic Solution or Greenwashing?

The H2Accelerate collaboration has announced its ambitious plan to deploy 150 fuel cell trucks across Europe, aiming to decarbonize long-haul goods transport with hydrogen. But is this project truly ambitious, or just a greenwashing effort by industry giants like Shell, Daimler, Total, and Iveco, who still heavily rely on fossil fuels? Furthermore, why is full electric being ignored in this initiative, and can we realistically expect this hydrogen truck project to succeed without concrete data to support its potential for success?

Challenges in Hydrogen Production and Infrastructure

Producing hydrogen is a difficult process, with most of it still being derived from grey sources[1]. Additionally, the transportation and storage of hydrogen pose logistical challenges. The cycle of electricity to hydrogen and back to electricity is considerably more inefficient than the electricity to battery to electricity process[1]. Despite these hurdles, companies like Scania are exploring hydrogen for sustainable transport and decarbonisation, acknowledging that green hydrogen, produced in an environmentally friendly manner, may play a crucial role in specific transport types[2].

Infrastructure development for hydrogen refuelling stations is another critical challenge that needs to be addressed to support the widespread adoption of hydrogen trucks. The H2Accelerate partnership has secured funding for the deployment of eight heavy-duty hydrogen refuelling stations through the EU funding instrument “Connecting Europe Facility”[3]. However, the industry will require a dense EU charging and refuelling network to decarbonise while continuing to support customers and trade in the EU and beyond[3].

Government Incentives and Subsidies for Hydrogen Trucks

There are several government incentives, subsidies, and regulations in place to promote the use of hydrogen in the trucking industry. The Clean Hydrogen Partnership is co-financed by the EU, with financing directed to carbon-centric companies like Shell, Total, and Daimler[4]. On the other hand, more modern and innovative companies like Einride are not included in the funding[5]. The UK government has also initiated a £200 million investigation into hydrogen and electric trucks, aiming for zero-emission heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) by 2040[6].

However, the debate between hydrogen and electric trucks is ongoing, with contradicting claims from both sides. Elon Musk criticises hydrogen for energy storage, while Hyzon Motors argues that electric grids would be strained by HGV charging[6]. Battery supply chain challenges are limiting EV production and adoption, leading some truck makers, like Scania, to pivot to hydrogen fuel development[6].

Comparing Hydrogen and Electric Trucks

Hydrogen fuel cells offer an energy density advantage over lithium-ion batteries for HGVs, due to weight and uninterrupted operation requirements[6]. For example, a Tesla Semi electric truck with a 4.5-ton battery has an energy density of 5 MJ/kg, while hydrogen fuel cell trucks by Nikola and Hyzon have double the energy density and aim to reduce purchase prices by 70% in a decade[6].

Hydrogen refuelling for a 500-mile range truck takes 15 minutes, while battery electric takes 6 hours[6]. However, hydrogen adoption is less electricity-efficient (35%) compared to battery EVs (70%-80%)[6]. Hydrogen fuel cells are in an earlier development stage, but their cost reduction curve is steeper, and falling hydrogen fuel costs and subsidies predict cost of ownership parity with fossil-powered trucks by 2026[6].


While the H2Accelerate project’s ambition to deploy 150 fuel cell trucks across Europe shows the industry’s commitment to decarbonising long-haul goods transport, it is essential to address the challenges in hydrogen production, transportation, and infrastructure development. The project’s success will depend on overcoming these obstacles and securing additional funding and government support. The debate between hydrogen and electric trucks will continue, with both technologies likely to coexist and serve different segments of the trucking market. However, it is crucial to ensure that innovative companies like Einride are not left out of the funding loop, as they hold the key to a cleaner, safer, and more efficient way to move goods in the future.