News is coming out in droves from the NACV (North American Commercial Vehicle) this week in Atlanta, Ga. One of the first companies to wow with its news is Hyundai, which unveiled two new concepts that support and enhance its overall mobility vision for the commercial truck space. What might this announcement be and Hyundai’s vision say about where the commercial transportation industry is headed?

The first concept Hyundai revealed earlier this week at NACV is the HDC-6 NEPTUNE Concept Class 8 heavy-duty truck, the first hydrogen-only concept for Hyundai’s commercial vehicles. Inspired by Art Deco industrial design of the mid-twentieth century, the HDC-6 NEPTUNE Concept truck embodies a sort of next generation of commercial vehicles that leverages FCEV (fuel cell electric vehicle) technology to move society closer to a less carbon-dependent transportation model.

Hyundai is already commercializing fuel cell electric trucks globally. The company, in conjunction with H2 Energy, an organization dedicated to the development of hydrogen and fuel cell technology, says it will provide 1,600 heavy-duty FCEV trucks to the Swiss commercial vehicle market between now and 2023. With the NACV show, the company is introducing its technology to the U.S. market as part of the next phase of its FCEV Vision 2030.

The FCEV Vision 2030 is Hyundai’s effort to “accelerate the development of a hydrogen society.” In December 2018, Hyundai invested $6.4 billion toward this goal and made it clear the company is looking beyond passenger vehicles. In the automaker’s announcement yesterday, Edward Lee, head of the Hyundai Commercial Vehicle Business Division, said the company is willing to work with other partners to pave the way to establish a hydrogen ecosystem for commercial vehicles.

The second concept vehicle Hyundai announced yesterday will also help the company realize its vision for the commercial vehicles space. Hyundai Translead, a Hyundai-owned trailer manufacturer, announced HT Nitro ThermoTech, a clean-energy refrigerated concept trailer with a carbon footprint of up to 90% less than a traditional unit. The company says it will be one of the first trailer manufacturers in North America to introduce a refrigerated trailer using a cryogenic nitrogen refrigeration technology system. The HT Nitro ThermoTech concept trailer is a step forward in transporting cold chain products. A smart control system and independent cooling power maximize thermal efficiency, says Hyundai Translead.

The tractor-trailer combo offers a glimpse into the future of commercial transportation. As the transportation industry teeters on the edge of huge change, thanks in part to advancing technologies in the realm of EVs and autonomous driving, companies that keep an eye on this horizon will help humanity move toward that future.

According to ResearchAndMarkets, the global autonomous vehicles market will exceed $615 billion by 2026. This reflects the reality that the automotive and transportation industries are in flux; there is a shift in consumer values as well as evolving technology trends and changing environmental regulations that are pushing automakers toward solutions like FCEV. Hyundai’s concept vehicles and technologies are in line with this future, and it will be interesting to see how the next several years play out in commercial transportation. For more news coming out of NACV, keep an eye on www.connectedworld.com.

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