Daimler reveals hydrogen fuel-cell truck

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September 16, 2020

Today, truck manufacturer Daimler Trucks presented its technology strategy for the electrification of its vehicles, ranging from urban distribution to international long-haul transport. Daimler Trucks presented the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck as a concept vehicle, which marks the beginning of fuel-cell drive for Daimler. 

Image: Daimler GenH2 Truck

The GenH2 Truck


For the first time, Daimler Trucks is demonstrating the technologies with which the company is aiming to present its vision of the future for climate-friendly long-haul haulage operations. With the GenH2 Truck, flexible and demanding long-distance haulage operations with ranges of up to 1,000 kilometers and more on a single tank of hydrogen can be achieved. 


Daimler Trucks plans to begin customer trials of the GenH2 Truck in 2023. The series production will start in the second half of the decade. Daimler will make use of liquid hydrogen instead of gaseous hydrogen, due to its higher energy density. This way, the vehicle’s performance is planned to equal that of a comparable conventional diesel truck.


In addition to the GenH2 Truck, Daimler today also presented its purely battery-powered long-haul truck, the Mercedes-Benz eActros LongHaul. Based on the Mercedes-Benz Actros, the GenH2 Truck will boast a range of up to 1,000-kilometers and more for flexible and demanding long-haul transport.

GenH2 and liquid hydrogen


The development engineers at Daimler Trucks have based the GenH2 Truck on the capabilities of the conventional Mercedes-Benz Actros long-haul truck with regard to tractive power, range, and performance. For example, the series-production version of the GenH2 Truck is to have a gross vehicle weight of 40 tons and a payload of 25 tons. Two special liquid-hydrogen tanks and a particularly powerful fuel-cell system will make this high payload and long range possible, and therefore form the core of the GenH2 Truck concept.


Daimler Trucks prefers to use liquid hydrogen (LH2), because in this state, the energy carrier has a far higher energy density in relation to volume than gaseous hydrogen. As a result, the tanks of a fuel-cell truck using liquid hydrogen are much smaller and, due to the lower pressure, significantly lighter. This gives the trucks a larger cargo space and higher payload weight. At the same time, more hydrogen can be carried, which significantly increases the trucks’ range. This makes the series GenH2 Truck, like conventional diesel trucks, suitable for multi-day, difficult to plan long-haul transport and where the daily energy throughput is high.

GenH2 aligns with Daimler’s mission to pursue CO2-neutral transport


The development of long-haul heavy-duty trucks powered by hydrogen and batteries marks a big step forward in Daimler’s pursuit of CO2-neutral transport. Martin Daum, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG, said, “We are consistently pursuing our vision of CO2-neutral transport with a focus on the genuinely locally CO2-neutral technologies battery power and hydrogen-based fuel cells, which have the potential to succeed in the market in the long term.”

“With our alternative drive concepts from Mercedes-Benz – the GenH2 Truck, the eActros LongHaul and the eActros – and our electric trucks of the Freightliner and FUSO brands, we have a clear focus on customer requirements and are creating genuine locally CO2-netural alternatives for them.”