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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.

Schumer calls for IG probe into alleged plan by Trump, DOJ lawyer to oust acting AG

Jeffrey Clark speaks next to Deputy US Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen at a news conference in October. Photo: Yuri Gripas/AFP via Getty Images.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Saturday called for the Justice Department inspector general to investigate an alleged plan by former President Trump and a DOJ lawyer to remove the acting attorney general and replace him with someone more willing to investigate unfounded claims of election fraud.

Driving the news: The New York Times first reported Friday that the lawyer, Jeffrey Clark, allegedly devised "ways to cast doubt on the election results and to bolster Mr. Trump’s continuing legal battles and the pressure on Georgia politicians. Because Mr. [Jeffrey] Rosen had refused the president’s entreaties to carry out those plans, Mr. Trump was about to decide whether to fire Mr. Rosen and replace him with Mr. Clark."

3 hours ago - World

Brazil begins distributing AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine

Containers carrying doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine arrive in Brazil. Photo: Maurio Pimentel/AFP via Getty Images

Brazil on Saturday began distributing the 2 million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine that arrived from India Friday, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: Brazil has the third highest COVID-19 case-count in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The 2 million doses "only scratch the surface of the shortfall," Brazilian public health experts told the AP.

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