Published on October 29th, 2009 | by Christopher DeMorro
The Governator Introduces Short Haul Fuel Cell Semi-Truck
Trucking is among the most important, yet polluting parts of our environment. Everything everywhere was delivered by a truck, unless you live on a farm. A necessary evil, if you will. Getting truckers on board with the green movement will play an integral part in the widespread acceptance of alternative fuel vehicles. To do that, you’ve got to hit them in the wallet.
Towards that end, last week Vision Industries, with the help of California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, unveiled a short haul, hydrogen-powered truck dubbed the Tyrano.
On October 20th, Governor Schwarzenegger introduced the Tyrano alongside Vision Industries in front of the State Capitol building. The Tyrano offers a zero emissions short haul truck based on a brand new Freightliner chassis with an 80,000 pound gross vehicle weight. The Tyrano is designed for short hops between local deliveries with a range of about 200 to 400 miles per shift, depending on whether you opt for the 16 kg or 33 kg hydrogen fuel tanks. If you’ve ever seen the fuel tanks up close on a long haul semi, you know semi trucks have room to spare.
Adopting hydrogen to short hauling is especially important, as the trucks currently in use are usually retired long haulers on their last legs. The older an engine is, the less efficient it runs; hence, the more it pollutes. Additionally, most short hauling is done in heavily populated urban areas. Getting these trucks off the road (of which there are 1 million nationwide) would go a long way towards lessening pollution.
The hydrogen fuel cell-powered electric motor also offers another bonus; twice the torque of conventional diesel engines. The Tyrano offers 3,300 ft-lbs of torque and 536 horsepower, enough power to tear the Empire State Building out of the ground. Ok, maybe not. But the Federal Government does offer a $40,000 tax credit on this truck to help offset the premium you pay for the hydrogen setup (Vision does not yet list a sales price for the Tyrano). But the Tyrano does shave 35% off the cost of operating the truck when compared to diesel fuel, or 50% when compared LPG to further help close the cost gap. Trucking is extremely competitive, so any advantage could be a make-it-or-break-it deal.
If speed is more your thing, Vision is also developing a zero emissions supercar called The Cheetah, with 1,350 ft-lbs of torque in a 2,600 pound car. Yikes!