HomeCommercial VehiclesAshok Leyland, Reliance Unveil India's First Hydrogen-ICE Powered Heavy Duty Truck

Ashok Leyland, Reliance Unveil India’s First Hydrogen-ICE Powered Heavy Duty Truck

Unveiling of India’s first Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (H2-ICE) powered heavy-duty truck – Clean Mobility Mission

India's first Hydrogen-ICE powered Heavy duty truck
India’s first Hydrogen-ICE powered Heavy duty truck

H2-ICE technology uses hydrogen as fuel for an internal combustion engine. It offers a clean alternative to conventional diesel engines with higher energy efficiency and zero emissions. However, producing and distributing hydrogen as fuel is currently more expensive than other clean energy sources such as electric battery technology.

Ashok Leyland and Reliance Industries Limited partnered to unveil India’s first H2-ICE powered heavy-duty truck. This truck maintains a similar architecture to regular diesel engines, making the transition to cleaner energy sources easier and more affordable. This partnership marks a significant milestone in India’s move towards cleaner and more sustainable transport solutions, as demonstrated by Ashok Leyland’s showcase of electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles at Auto Expo 2023.

Ashok Leyland, RIL and other partners developing tech since early 2022

Reliance, in partnership with Ashok Leyland and other technical partners, aims to establish an end-to-end hydrogen ecosystem. H2-ICE technology, which is still in its early stages of deployment in India explores the use of hydrogen as a renewable and clean energy source. The end result could be near zero emissions, and contributing to sustainability and environment-friendliness of vehicles. H2-ICE technology offers performance comparable to conventional diesel trucks, reduces noise, and is projected to bring down operating costs.

Proving feasibility involves demonstrating increased and improved efficiency, and fuel economy compared to traditional ICE vehicles. Emissions-free operation helps reduce fleet carbon footprint and aligns with the push for clean mobility solutions. Other considerations include reducing downtime and increasing operational efficiency. A shift away from traditional fuels like gasoline and diesel will reduce dependence on imports and increase energy security.

Renewable energy – India focuses on hydrogen

When using H2-ICE technology, one must consider high costs. Cost is a top priority no matter the plan. Challenges arise from the limited availability of hydrogen fuel and a lack of hydrogen refuelling infrastructure. A supportive policy environment and investment in the necessary infrastructure can overcome these challenges.

The Indian government has implemented policies and initiatives to foster the growth of hydrogen vehicles, and the use of hydrogen internal combustion engine technology. These include the National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap outlining the government’s vision for hydrogen energy development and deployment, the National Hydrogen Energy Mission promoting hydrogen as a clean energy source in transportation, the National Mission on Transformative Mobility and Battery Storage aimed at clean mobility solutions, and institutions and partnerships such as the International Energy Agency.

H2-ICE captive fleet – end-to-end Hydrogen eco system for mobility

Reliance will first thoroughly test and validate the H2-ICE technology for heavy-duty trucks before deploying it commercially, starting with its captive fleet. They also aim to create an end-to-end hydrogen ecosystem for mobility while prioritizing continued testing.

The H2-ICE truck/tech has undergone testing since early 2022. Once validated for scalability and other factors, the H2-ICE heavy-duty trucks will be part of Reliance’s captive fleet to better control and manage the hydrogen network. This could lead to the creation of an end-to-end hydrogen ecosystem for mobility. Benefits include better control, cost advantages, and easy access to hydrogen fuel. This goal can be achieved through development of local hydrogen production facilities and a hydrogen refuelling network.

Technological leadership and Clean Mobility Mission commitment

Dr. N Saravanan, President and Chief Technology Officer, Ashok Leyland, said, “Ashok Leyland has always been a pioneer in introducing state-of-the-art technologies in the commercial vehicle space. Working with RIL, we have once again demonstrated our technological leadership, and our commitment to the Clean Mobility Mission. Having one of the best R&D teams in the country, we want to continue our path to innovate and leverage new technologies to be a leader in sustainable and environment friendly mobility.

In conclusion – H2-ICE trucking industry advantages over traditional diesel trucks point to improved fuel efficiency, lower emissions, and quieter operation. H2-ICE trucks have a higher energy conversion efficiency, reducing operating costs. However, the technology is still relatively new, hydrogen infrastructure is limited, and upfront costs can be higher. As the technology matures, costs are expected to decrease. BEVs offer the advantage of energy efficiency and zero tailpipe emissions, but have limitations in range and charging times. The choice between H2-ICE and BEVs depends on factors such as energy production method and specific use case.

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