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Image courtesy of Hyzon Motors

The huge multinational oil-and-gas company Total SE is investing in the hydrogen fuel cell truck and bus startup Hyzon Motors, the companies announced this morning.

Why it matters: It's the latest sign of increasing interest in hydrogen-powered heavy vehicles amid moves by startups and legacy automakers alike. It also shows how European-headquartered oil giants are boosting their alternative energy portfolios, even though hydrocarbons remain their dominant business lines.

  • Total's VC arm is leading the funding round that also has participation from Ascent Hydrogen Fund, Hydrogen Capital Partners and Audacy Ventures Ltd.

Yes, but: The size of the investments in Hyzon were not disclosed, but Bloomberg reports that they're relatively small. The funding round "totaled more than $15 million and valued Hyzon at around $200 million," it reports.

What's next: Hyzon says it plans to deliver around 5,000 fuel cell trucks and buses over the next three years from its facilities in North America, Europe and Asia. The company, a spinoff out of Singapore-based Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies, says it currently has roughly 400 trucks and buses on the roads.

The big picture: Hydrogen-powered heavy vehicles are having a moment even though it remains a small market with plenty of barriers to major growth. Two recent examples...

  • Hyundai delivered its first XCIENT fuel cell heavy-duty trucks to European customers this week and announced plans to bring hydrogen-powered trucks to the U.S. and China, too. It plans to build up to 2,000 trucks a year starting in 2021.
  • Toyota and its subsidiary Hino said Monday 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 has been a busy stretch for Total's growing cleantech portfolio and investments.

  • This week Total made its latest renewables investment by taking a 20% stake in a floating wind project off the French coast.
  • Last week Total announced the acquisition of Blue Point London, the city's largest EV charging network.

Go deeper

Sep 25, 2020 - Economy & Business

Eyeing the end of gas-powered cars

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Gasoline-powered cars may be going the way of the woolly mammoth, even if it will take decades to replace them and seems hard to fathom today.

The big picture: Internal combustion engines (ICEs) have powered automobiles for more than 100 years. But the shift to electric vehicles, slow to materialize at first, is now accelerating due to tightening government policies, falling costs and a societal reckoning about climate change.

Updated 50 mins ago - Economy & Business

Ubisoft workers demand company accountability in open letter

Photo: Frederic Brown / Getty Images

Close to 500 current and former employees of “Assassin’s Creed” publisher Ubisoft are standing in solidarity with protesting game developers at Activision Blizzard with a letter that criticizes their company's handling of sexual misconduct.

Why it matters: Ubisoft and Activision Blizzard workers are framing the actions as part of a bigger movement meant to have lasting change in the industry and its culture.

Companies deploy tech to prevent retail crime

Customers in a Home Depot in Pleasanton, California, in February 2021. Photo: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Retailers have a new edge for fighting theft: They're using technology to disable stolen goods — from iPhones to Black & Decker drills — and render them useless.

Why it matters: Organized retail crime has a considerable affect on retailers every year, costing them an average of $719,000 per $1 billion dollars in sales, according to estimates from the National Retail Federation.