The GenH2 hydrogen-powered electric truck presented last year is currently being tested on the site of the Mercedes-Benz plant in Wörth, Germany. Since April, the GenH2 electric truck prototype has been tested.
The driver's cabin of the fuel cell semi-trailer is very spacious. There are three display screens on the dashboard, and you can see how the electrical energy flows in the vehicle. A small device is attached behind the steering wheel, an instrument panel that allows the driver to operate the fuel cell system, the tank system and the HV system. It took half a year plus planning and construction in advance to assemble the truck.
Daimler Trucks is happy with the results of the tests conducted up until now. In the first few weeks, the electric vehicle covered several hundred kilometres on the rolling test bench. All fuel cell truck prototypes are assembled in Wörth (Germany), including the GenH2. The entire fleet of vehicles is tested for functionality, service life and strength. The developers are also looking at driver dynamics and behaviour at different temperatures and wind strengths. The requirements for the GenH2 electric truck are based on the conventional Mercedes-Benz Actros truck: 1.2 million kilometres, ten years of operation and a total of 25,000 operating hours.
The test vehicle will be driven on 15 different types of roads. These roads are constructed in such a way that one kilometre of test track can be compared to 200 kilometres of real roads. For this purpose, Daimler Trucks analyzed the lanes of countries all over the world. Tests on public roads are planned for this year, and the first customers should get the GenH2 hydrogen-powered electric truck in 2023.
According to the vehicle manufacturer, the GenH2 electric truck is a completely redesigned vehicle with completely new elements. The fuel cell system and the fully electric drive train received special attention during the tests. A core element is also the cooling and heating system, which is supposed to keep the individual components at operating temperature.
The Mercedes-Benz GenH2 truck is equipped with two electric motors - each with a 230 kW continuous output. The torque is 1,577 Newton meters (Nm). The storage capacity of the HV battery is 70 kWh.
Daimler has invested 70 million euros in the development and test centre. The company employs several hundred people there and some of them have received internal training for fuel cell tests. The truck is like a magnet for Mercedes-Benz employees.
The GenH2 electric truck appearance will no longer change greatly. It is still necessary to adapt technology to it. The company has high hopes for the tests. The truck manufacturer believes that battery-electric and hydrogen-based fuel cell trucks complement each other depending on the customer's application.
In the coming year, the eActros electric truck will go into large-scale production in Europe. For long-haul trucks, Daimler Trucks is committed to hydrogen-powered fuel cells. The goal is to make the company one of the world's leading manufacturers of fuel cell systems, although these are still in the prototype stage.
The Daimler company prefers liquid hydrogen because, in contrast to gaseous hydrogen, it has a higher energy density and a truck can get by with smaller and lighter tanks. The GenH2 prototype is currently still running with four tanks filled with gaseous hydrogen. A refuelling solution for liquid hydrogen does not yet exist. However, this should be possible by the end of the year. Daimler Trucks recently signed an agreement with the Linde group to advance liquid hydrogen refuelling technology. The focus of the cooperation is on a process that should enable more range, faster refuelling and higher energy efficiency. For the GenH2 series production, Daimler Trucks plans to install two liquid hydrogen stainless steel tanks with a capacity of 40 kilograms each.