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UK-based startup Tevva launches hydrogen-electric truck

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U.K.-based startup Tevva on Thursday launched a hydrogen-electric heavy goods vehicle, becoming the most recent company to make a play in a sector attracting interest from multinationals like Daimler Truck and Volvo.

In keeping with Tevva, which says it has raised $140 million in funding, its vehicle can have a spread of as much as 310 miles, or just below 500 kilometers.

Refilling the hydrogen tanks will take 10 minutes while charging the battery “from fully depleted to 100%” will take five to 6 hours.

The corporate’s first hydrogen-electric truck will weigh 7.5 metric tons, with later versions planned to weigh 12 and 19 metric tons.

In an announcement, Tevva sought to elucidate the rationale behind combining a fuel cell and battery. “The fuel cell system tops up the battery, extending the vehicle’s range and allowing the truck to hold heavier loads over longer distances.”

Alongside its hydrogen-electric truck, the business has also developed an electrical truck that it says has a spread of as much as 160 miles. Details of each the electrical and hydrogen-electric trucks had been previously announced by Tevva.

Read more about electric vehicles from CNBC Pro

In an interview with CNBC’s “Street Signs Europe” on Thursday, Tevva CEO Asher Bennett was asked whether his company was seeking to diversify into smaller vehicles.

“We’re not considering developing the smaller vans or the pickup trucks,” Bennett said. “Those are, in lots of instances, very similar technology to the larger EV sedans, which work thoroughly,” he added.

“We’re very focused on the heavy goods trucks and we’re slowly going heavier and heavier because those are the segments which might be much harder to affect.”

With governments all over the world looking to cut back the environmental footprint of transportation, a lot of corporations within the trucking sector are exploring ways to develop low and zero-emission vehicles, including ones that use hydrogen.

Last month, Volvo Trucks said it began to check vehicles that use “fuel cells powered by hydrogen,” with the Swedish firm claiming their range could extend to as much as 1,000 kilometers, or somewhat over 621 miles.

Gothenburg-headquartered Volvo Trucks said refueling of the vehicles would take under quarter-hour. Customer pilots are set to start in the following few years, with commercialization “planned for the latter a part of this decade.”

Alongside hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, Volvo Trucks — which is a component of the Volvo Group — has also developed battery-electric trucks.

Like Volvo Trucks and Tevva, Daimler Truck is specializing in each battery-electric vehicles and ones that use hydrogen.

In an interview with CNBC last yr, Martin Daum, chairman of the board of management at Daimler Truck, was asked in regards to the debate between battery-electric and hydrogen fuel cells.

“We go for each because each … make sense,” he replied, before explaining how different technologies can be appropriate in several scenarios.

While there may be excitement in some quarters in regards to the potential of hydrogen-powered vehicles, there are hurdles in relation to expanding the sector, not least in relation to the event of adequate refueling infrastructure. The best way hydrogen is produced can be a problem.

Each of those points were acknowledged by Volvo Trucks in June when it pointed to challenges including the “large-scale supply of green hydrogen” in addition to “the indisputable fact that refueling infrastructure for heavy vehicles is yet to be developed.”

Hydrogen may be produced in a lot of ways. One method includes using electrolysis, with an electrical current splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen.

If the electricity utilized in this process comes from a renewable source corresponding to wind or solar then some call it “green” or “renewable” hydrogen. Today, the overwhelming majority of hydrogen generation is predicated on fossil fuels.

For its part, Tevva said it will help its customers “access sustainable and inexpensive hydrogen supplies safely and conveniently, alongside their purchase or lease of Tevva Hydrogen Trucks.”

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