Hydrogen Fuel Cells Drive Big Hauling Truck

What is said to be the world’s first zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell class 8 truck rolled through roads in the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach recently.

Vision Industries delivered the truck to Total Transportation Services, a national trucking company, at the end of July to be tested in California ports. The truck will do short-haul routes typical of the other trucks currently operating in the ports in the coming six months.

Vision Truck

image via Vision Industries

The truck is powered by a battery that is recharged by hydrogen fuel cell, which generates electricity form a reaction of hydrogen and oxygen. The truck emits no combustion or air pollution. Vision Industries owns proprietary technology that combines the acceleration of a battery powered electric vehicle with the extended range of a hydrogen fuel cell.

If everything goes well in the testing phase, Total Transportation has agreed to buy a fleet of 100 of the zero-emission trucks for a cost of $27 million. Upon purchase, it will also have the option to buy another 300 trucks for an overall cost of $108 million.

The testing and potential purchase of a green transportation fleet is part of the port’s Technology Advancement Program, which is designed to encourage the commercialization of clean goods-movement vehicles and equipment.

Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.


  • Reply August 4, 2011

    Hydrogen Halpin

    The message is simple-‘zero emmision with vision’ Mike H. founder HYDROGENHEADS.

  • Reply August 7, 2011


    And where does the hydrogen come from ? u00a0 u00a0Is the source “zero emissions” as well ? u00a0Not likely. u00a0

    • Reply August 15, 2011


      Perhaps not, but it’s deffinately progress since the fuel you currently are using not only releases emissions but results in a great deal of emissions in order to make it.

    • Reply April 28, 2013

      Topher Dean

      Electrolysis is so basic and can easily be used to manufacture hydrogen. There’s no shortage of existing roof space and parking space that can be used to directly power the grid and make hydrogen. The only thing lacking is will. How much do you think the destruction of life on Earth would cost? Japan has a five year goal to convert it’s private sector transportation system to hydrogen. Currently their cars, which are identical to typical combustion engine cars in every way, get 600 mi on one tank of hydrogen.

      • Reply April 28, 2013

        Topher Dean

        Also Japan has invented solar panels that collect UV and infrared spectrum, which doubles capacity. While Americans are saying, “We can’t do it, it’s impossible.” Other countries are already doing it. I have no patience for whiners and nay sayers. America used to lead the world in inovation, now were saying, “It’s too expensive.” “It’s to hard.” “It’s too much work.” “We don’t know how.”

    • Reply December 19, 2016

      Sam Pyeatte

      Most, if not all, industrial volume hydrogen gas comes from natural gas (methane), CH4. Using electrolysis of water is too expensive.

  • Reply August 17, 2011

    Keith Green

    if you do the math that makes each truck $270,000. I just bought a 2011 Volvo VNL 730 for $125,000 including tax. I spend $60,000 per year on fuel. That means that the break even is 3 years not including tax. I don’t keep a truck more than 5 years so I would get 2 years of profit on the truck that they show.u00a0 Oh wait…the sleeper costs more money.nI want to see this tech work…but not at this price.

    • Reply April 28, 2013

      Topher Dean

      The only reason that math doesn’t work is because the real cost of gasoline is not accounted for, reflecting a falsely low cost structure. If you factor in all the environmental damage and taxpayer expense of gasoline hydrogen would be much less expensive.

    • Reply July 10, 2013


      Its the first one. Prices will come down. First is always pricy.

  • Reply January 12, 2012


    How does the fuel cell dispose of the water it produces?

    • Reply January 12, 2012

      Pete Danko

      Water produced goes out the tailpipe. Keep in mind, we’re talking about a very small amount of water. Gasoline combustion engines actually produce more water per mile than fuel cell engines, regardless of what’s powering the fuel cell (although with an ICE, the water tends to stay in a vapor form longer because it’s released at a higher temperature).

  • Reply November 15, 2012

    Ryan Gaulding

    Great idea but what about the battery? Unless the nano carbon battery tech that MIT was working on (and I think got bought out) is the battery for this thing even though it’s zero emissions the production and proper disposal or recycling of a battery large enough for a truck like that makes this vehicle still have a very negative impact on the environment. Good step in the right direction guys but don’t give up yet.

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