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The XCIENT Fuel Cell heavy duty truck. Photo courtesy of Hyundai

Hydrogen-powered heavy trucking is becoming more and more of a thing, even as it's unclear whether fuel cells or battery electrics will ultimately win the long race to decarbonize road freight.

Why it matters: Heavy diesel trucks and industrial vehicles are a huge source of carbon emissions worldwide, and a number of legacy automakers and startups are moving ahead with electric and hydrogen models.

Driving the news: This week is bringing new examples of action on hydrogen trucks that are in development from a suite of companies.

  • Hyundai on late Monday teased the upcoming launch of its XCIENT Fuel Cell (see the photo above), which it's calling the "world's first mass-produced fuel cell heavy-duty truck."
  • Toyota and its subsidiary Hino yesterday said they're developing a fuel cell heavy truck for the North American market, with a demonstration model arriving in the first half of 2021.

The intrigue: It's not just semitrucks either.

  • For instance, "France’s 250 ski resorts will switch to hydrogen-powered snow-grooming machinery as they seek to make good on a pledge to cut direct CO2 emissions to zero by 2037," Bloomberg reported Friday.

The big picture: The new hydrogen models come as battery electric trucks are moving ahead as well.

  • "[T]he hydrogen truck market is less advanced than that for electric trucks, primarily because of the need for extensive infrastructure to produce and distribute hydrogen," notes a new Brookings Institution analysis on options for decarbonizing heavy transport.
  • Heavy electric vehicles from companies including Daimler and Volvo are already being deployed. This New York Times piece explores pilot programs at ports in southern California, while Tesla has a closely watched electric semi in development.

By the numbers: Getting back to Hyundai, they haven't released detailed info yet, but said the new truck is "equipped with a 350-bar 32-kg hydrogen tank that provides around 400 km of driving range with a full trailer in tow."

  • They said refueling takes 20 minutes or less and that the vehicle can carry a load "comparable to a diesel truck."

Go deeper

General Motors joins the race to electrify package delivery

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

General Motors is launching a new business unit devoted to electrifying the goods delivery market and says package giant FedEx will be the first customer.

Why it matters: Big automakers and startups alike see a huge opportunity.

Chauvin defense closing: "Does not have to prove his innocence"

Chauvin's defense attorney Eric Nelson opened his closing argument on Monday by reminding the jury that Derek Chauvin "does not have to prove his innocence."

Why it matters: The jury's verdict in Chauvin's murder trial is seen by advocates as one of the most crucial civil rights cases in decades.

Merrick Garland: Domestic terror is "still with us"

Photo: Kevin Dietsch/UPI/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In his first major speech, Attorney General Merrick Garland warned the nation Monday to remain vigilant against the rising threat of domestic extremism.

Why it matters: Domestic terrorism poses an "elevated threat" to the nation this year, according to U.S. intelligence. Garland has already pledged to crack down on violence linked to white supremacists and right-wing militia groups.

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