Imminent arrival of Hyundai New Zealand’s first hydrogen-powered truck


  • New Zealand’s first hydrogen-powered truck to arrive this month
  • A fleet of five XCIENT FCEV trucks will enter a real-world demonstration programme in 2022
  • Each hydrogen fuel cell truck in operation will save 50ton* of C02 per year


11 November, 2021 – The first of Hyundai New Zealand’s five new hydrogen-powered fuel cell electric XCIENT trucks arrive at the Port of Auckland New Zealand on or about 18 November.

The arrival of Hyundai New Zealand’s truck signifies the progression and application of hydrogen technology in New Zealand. Hydrogen-powered vehicles, otherwise known as fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV) and traditional battery electric vehicles (BEV), will complement one another in the future as the country transitions to zero carbon. 

Hydrogen technology, however, is better suited than battery electric trucks as a heavy-duty, reliable, future cost-effective replacement for diesel trucks. The use of hydrogen rather than weighty batteries means they have longer range, shorter refuelling time and greater payload.  

The electric motor is run by two 90kw fuel cells supported by a small battery pack (72kWh), which is continuously charged through the splitting of hydrogen. This results in a clean and quiet motor where the only emission is water. 

The first of these trucks will be on the road in the second quarter of next year, in a live field demonstration transporting large volumes of goods commercially across New Zealand.

“As a Kiwi owned company, we are big believers of implementing alternative fuel technology here in NZ. We have championed this through the introduction of NZ’s first hydrogen-powered SUV, NEXO, in 2019. Now with the XCIENT FCEV, we have an opportunity to help fast track the large scale adoption of alternative green fuels in the New Zealand road freight sector,” says Andy Sinclair, Hyundai New Zealand General Manager.

“We’re fortunate as a local distributor to have a strong working relationship with Hyundai Motor Company, who acknowledge and support our hydrogen ambitions. Hyundai Motor Company anticipated the future potential of hydrogen fuel cells at an early stage, and we have been able to benefit from that.”

New Zealand is just the third country to have access to these trucks, following Switzerland and Korea. Hyundai New Zealand has initially taken Swiss specification to get the programme underway early. The trucks will be converted locally to NZ configuration and a body affixed in preparation to hit New Zealand roads.

The Hyundai XCIENT Fuel Cell is the world’s first mass-produced heavy-duty truck powered by hydrogen. There are already a number of FCEV XCIENT in real world operations that have now collectively exceeded 2 million kilometres of driving.

Hyundai New Zealand will work with local partners in the freight sector to determine where the trucks will operate regionally. This demonstration will give insights into how the trucks fit into timetables, capacity, maintenance schedules, refuelling, drivability and user-training specific to New Zealand.

The country can comfortably produce the hydrogen these trucks require and Hyundai New Zealand’s introduction timing will complement the rollout of the hydrogen refuelling network.

Each FCEV XCIENT operating in place of an equivalent Diesel truck will save 50ton* of C02 per year from being emitted into our environment. With the New Zealand heavy transport sector responsible for 25% of transport emissions, green hydrogen provides a practical zero emission alternative to accelerate our progress toward meeting our emission reduction targets.

The truck will be briefly at Hyundai New Zealand’s Auckland premises before commencing localisation and preparation for use in New Zealand.

Hyundai New Zealand was a founding member and the first automotive brand to join the NZ Hydrogen Council in 2018.

*Based on 80,000kms per year