Automakers left and right have been experimenting with hydrogen fuel cells. Some (like Honda and Toyota) have even put them into production and offered them to the public. But passenger cars aren’t the only ones on the road, or the only vehicles that could benefit from the clean propulsion technology.
Case in point: UPS, which isn’t waiting around for a manufacturer to supply it with greener vehicles, but is developing its own fuel cell-powered delivery trucks as part of its Rolling Laboratory – a fleet of experimental logistics vehicles.
The Class 6 medium-duty delivery truck carries 10 kg of hydrogen fuel, a 32-kilowatt fuel cell, and a 45-kWh battery. The hydrogen fuel cell charges the battery which powers the electric motor to allow the van to travel along its root – even down the highway – with zero tailpipe emissions. Despite the photo above that was clearly taken in New York (the Park Slope neighborhood in Brooklyn if we had to guess), the first prototype is being tested in Sacramento. Once the company has about 5,000 hours of in-service operational data, it plans to start rolling them out more extensively across California, where there’s already a (relatively) extensive network of hydrogen fuel stations.
UPS reports that it has invested over $750 million in alternative propulsion and other advanced technologies since 2009, deploying over 8,300 experimental vehicles (from electric bicycles to natural gas and renewable diesel fuel) around the world.