The first high-altitude testing on open highways was successfully completed by a Mercedes-Benz GenH2 Truck prototype. Crossing the Brenner Pass, one of the key thoroughfares of European freight traffic, was one of the primary items on the test program’s checklist.
The four-lane transit route, which runs along the border between Austria and Italy at an elevation of up to 1,370 metres, was used to convey almost 40 million tonnes of freight in 2019. That translates to about 2.5 million trucks annually.
The fuel-cell semi-trailer vehicle carrying a typical cargo frequently traversed the Brenner Pass during the week-long test runs on the 120 km stretch of road between Bolzano and Innsbruck. Water vapour was the sole emission during the journey.
The test drives were conducted from the Italian city of Bolzano, which is home to a hydrogen filling station run by H2 South Tyrol. Furthermore, the geography of the neighbourhood is perfect for extensive performance tests of the fuel-cell system at various altitudes.
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Driving the tractor unit up the Penser Joch Mountain to a height of 2,211 metres was one of the test’s high points. The results of this initial altitude test programme regarding how the fuel cell and battery interacted in challenging topography, as well as the futuristic operating strategy on the Brenner route, are now being incorporated into the further development of the series vehicle.
In the upcoming year, more mountainous terrain test drives are anticipated. Daimler Truck has outlined its strategic course for the electrification of its portfolio with both battery-electric and hydrogen-based propulsion as part of its journey toward a CO2-neutral future.
The vital market for heavy-duty transport and long-haul applications is where the Mercedes-Benz GenH2 truck is being developed specifically for flexible and demanding applications.
The development objective is a distance of at least 1,000 kilometres. The second part of the decade is set aside for the start of series production.