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Honda Modified a Peterbilt to Run on Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Honda is known for its small vehicles. But there’s nothing small about the company’s latest concept. It’s a semi-truck infused with hydrogen fuel cells, simply dubbed the Class 8 Hydrogen Fuel Cell Truck Concept. Honda will showcase it, along with other fuel-cell vehicles, at the Advanced Clean Transportation Expo in Las Vegas on May 20.

The truck is a fully functional demonstrator designed to showcase Honda’s current hydrogen tech. It carries three fuel-cell systems, each capable of generating 80 kilowatts. That’s 240 kW of combined energy, powering an unknown number of electric motors. Honda says the truck has an estimated top speed of 70 mph, and can travel 400 miles before refueling. It’s worth noting the range applies to a fully loaded truck/trailer combo weighing 82,000 pounds.

Honda Class 8 Truck Hydrogen Fuel Cell Concept
Honda Class 8 Truck Hydrogen Fuel Cell Concept

While the truck is a concept, the fuel cells aren’t. They’re new mass-production items currently being built at the joint Honda-General Motors plant in Michigan. With this truck, Honda hopes to grab the interests of potential partners to help pursue a hydrogen-fueled future.

“Commercial vehicles, including Class 8 trucks, where fuel cells offer the best zero-emission replacement for existing diesel applications, are a key part of Honda’s broad hydrogen business strategy,” said Ryan Harty, Honda assistant vice president of sustainability and business development. “Honda is actively seeking business collaborations and customers to help bring these hydrogen fuel cell solutions to market here in North America.”

Honda takes ownership of the concept with its fuel cell internals, but the truck is actually a Peterbilt. To our eye, it looks like a 579EV—a battery electric rig with a pair of e-axles and a range of 150 miles. Honda makes no mention of Peterbilt in its announcement, and images show Peterbilt badges removed from the concept. It’s unclear if there’s any co-development happening between the two brands; we contacted Honda for clarification, and we’ll provide an update if more information becomes available.

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