Air QualityElectrificationEnvironment & ClimateFossil FuelsHeavy Duty & Off-highwaySustainability

Iveco Group On-Highway spinout will focus on zero emissions trucks & buses.

By December 1, 2021 No Comments

CNH Industrial has announced the organisational structure of the future Iveco Group On-Highway spinout, with the designated CEO Gerrit Marx leading the way.

The On-Highway Iveco Group will focus on zero emissions on-highway vehicles, with a focus on electrification & hydrogen fuel cell technologies. Iveco has set up a joint venture with U.S. group Nikola (NKLA.O) to produce battery electric vehicles, starting with the Nikola Tre heavy truck & hydrogen fuel cell trucks from the end of 2023. (1)

IVECO & Nikola inaugurated the renewed production site in Ulm, where both the BEV & FCEV versions of the Nikola Tre truck will be manufactured. (2)

‘Hydrogen is the lightest, simplest and most abundant chemical element in the universe. It could provide a clean source of fuel and heat for our homes, transport and industry.’ (3)

In light of the uptake & interest in hydrogen fuel cell technologies, manufacturers & policy makers now face the same issues as they did when the EV market took off, namely ensuring that the innovative products they are producing, have the fuelling infrastructure to support them.

Nikola Tre

Nikola Motor Company, one of the innovators of the hydrogen truck market has already launched three haulage models in their zero emissions range in North America. The Nikola One is a fully hydrogen semi sleeper, Nikola Two a fully electric & hydrogen fuel cell electric day cab semi-truck & the Nikola Tre a fully electric cabover semi-truck (4)

The Nikola TRE, the latest in the Nikola Motor Company line, was developed in collaboration with IVECO & FPT, the commercial vehicle & powertrain brands of CNH Industrial N.V.‘The Nikola TRE is a fully zero emissions battery electric vehicle (BEV) heavy duty truck, which is the first step towards the fuel-cell electric (FCEV) model.’ (5)

With an estimated range of 500-750 miles (1,200+km) between re-fuelling, the Nikola TRE truck can travel as far as diesels & more than twice the distance of comparable battery only vehicles. The Nikola TRE also uses hydrogen made from a variety of renewable sources & due to the lack of weight in the hydrogen tanks; the vehicles efficiency is improved in comparison to the weightier batteries in an EV alternative.

Furthermore, not only have the Nikola Motor Company developed a full fleet of hydrogen powered vehicles, but they have already begun the necessary outlay to ensure enough H2 fuelling stations exists for their trucks. (Currently available in North America)

Why is electric still a challenge for Heavy-Duty?

Charging electric trucks takes them out of action for anything up to 8 hours at a time. Despite the laws in the UK dictating that HGV driver’s can only drive for a maximum of 9 hours per day; as a HGV is designed for maximum output, endurance & heavy duty performance, HGV trucks are often running 24/7 with shift drivers.

At the Cenex LCV Event in September the one seminar which broached the subject of the low carbon alternatives for heavy duty ‘Decarbonising Heavy Duty Vehicles’, certainly hailed electrification in both battery & electric road systems & hydrogen as strong contenders in the replacement of fossil fuel ICE’s.

During the seminar, Innovate UK cited the Department for Transport £20m Zero Emission Road Freight Program which highlights some of the ongoing targets for heavy duty sector, namely:

  • On road trials for the technology that could be the future of 44t HGV’s
  • Encouraging uptake of zero tailpipe emission vehicles that are available now and can decarbonise HGV’s immediately.

Department for Transport

Which companies are already spearheading electric heavy duty?

Scania announced in 2016 that they were committed to more sustainable transport solutions & in 2020 they announced that they were launching a long term commitment to electrification in the heavy duty sector.

Scania’s first electric truck range has a range of up to 250 kilometres (155 miles) with Scania claiming that the vehicles are capable of a full day’s operation before returning to base for overnight charging.  (6)

The trucks are offered with either a 165 kWh or 300 kWh battery pack to power its 230kW electric motor. (6)

The trucks come with a Combined Charging System (CCS) connector to charge the vehicle directly from the electric grid. With 130kW of charging, the five battery packs can be charged in less than 55 minutes. (6)

Written & cited by Katy-Jane Mason for & on behalf of Dolphin N2

  3. House of Commons Library CDP 2020-0172 , 16 December 2020