The Center for Transportation and the Environment Launches NorCAL ZERO Project

May 2, 2024


May 2, 2024


Kate Mason

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(615) 419-5185

The Center for Transportation and the Environment Launches NorCAL ZERO Project

NorCAL ZERO project, a milestone in clean energy innovation supports Hyundai Motor's entry into the U.S. market for Class 8 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks

Oakland, CA – In a dedication event at the FirstElement Hydrogen Fueling station in West Oakland on Thursday, the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) celebrated the official launch of NorCAL ZERO, a groundbreaking project bringing zero-emission freight transportation to the Bay Area and Central Valley. The project is a $53 million collaborative effort to deploy 30 units of Hyundai Motor Company's Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell electric trucks, the world’s first mass-produced, heavy-duty trucks powered by hydrogen.

West Oakland, a historically Black and Latino community, faces outsized environmental burdens from heavy industry, freeways, and diesel trucks coming to and from the Port of Oakland. CTE projects that the NorCAL ZERO project has the potential to avoid 24,362 metric tons of carbon-dioxide emissions equivalent to 2,393,124 gallons of diesel consumed, while also improving public health over the six-year operation of these trucks.

“Each diesel truck we replace with hydrogen helps clean the air—which has tremendous public health benefits,” said Tyson Eckerle, Senior Advisor for Clean Infrastructure & Mobility at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. “This project is a true trailblazer on so many levels, and a head start on the future we plan to build through the Alliance for Renewable Clean Hydrogen Energy Systems (ARCHES) federal hydrogen hub.”

The dedication event brought community stakeholders together with project partners CTE, Hyundai Motor Company, Glovis America, FirstElement Fuel, Papé Group, Fielder Group, University of California Berkeley, the Port of Oakland, the City of Oakland, East Bay Municipal Utility District, and the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project as well as official sponsors Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC), Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD), California Air Resources Board (CARB), and the California Energy Commission (CEC). The event was emceed by Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan and featured remarks from CARB Chair Liane Randolph, CEC Commissioner Patty Monahan, Emeryville Council Member and Alameda CTC Chair John J. Bauters, BAAQMD Executive Director Dr. Philip Fine, among others.

“The NorCAL ZERO project is particularly significant for Oakland residents who have historically suffered from disproportionate environmental burdens due to heavy industry, freeways, and diesel trucks,” said Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan. “This dedication event is a celebration of a critical step towards a more sustainable and equitable future for transportation in the region.”

The project is funded in part with $11.98 million from CARB’s California Climate Investments Program, $9.89 million from the CEC’s Clean Transportation Program, $3.64 million from Alameda CTC’s Clean Freight Program, $3.36 million from BAAQMD, and $24 million from project partners.

“Moving freight transportation toward zero emissions is key to California’s clean air and climate goals, and landmark projects such as NorCAL ZERO put the technology and infrastructure in place to make a healthier future a reality starting now,” said CARB Chair Liane Randolph. “The project is also an example of the collaboration that is happening between state agencies and with private and nonprofit partners to ensure that solutions are expedited, including to support frontline communities facing the burden of pollution.”

Hyundai Motor Company designed and manufactured the vehicles, which are operated by G.E.T. Freight, a truck-based freight transport business of Glovis America, hauling containers from the Port of Oakland, and cars from the Port of Richmond.

"This exciting and innovative initiative supports the Port of Oakland’s commitment to environmental stewardship and a zero-emissions seaport," said Port of Oakland Executive Director Danny Wan. "This project highlights the importance of business, community, government, and regulatory agency partnerships that are essential in advancing clean energy solutions."

The trucks refuel at the recently opened high-capacity and high-throughput liquid hydrogen fueling station built and operated by FirstElement Fuel. The hydrogen station is the largest in the world and has been designed to support up to 200 trucks and back-to-back refueling.

“The California Energy Commission is proud to support the NorCAL ZERO project through the buildout of a hydrogen station to fuel the nation's largest deployment of fuel cell big rigs. This project is a major milestone for hydrogen fuel cell-powered goods movement, demonstrating how fuel cell trucks can help California meet its goals for a zero-emission transportation system,” said Patty Monahan, Lead Commissioner at the California Energy Commission.

“We have a responsibility to make investments in clean transportation technology that ensures everyone can enjoy clean air and better public health outcomes,” said Alameda CTC Chair Bauters. “These hydrogen fuel cell trucks may be the first heavy-duty trucks to be mass-produced, but they won’t be the last. Alameda CTC is proud to fund zero-emission technology which has the potential to improve air quality for this entire region and beyond.”

Papé Group maintains the trucks at its San Leandro facility, where technicians receive in-depth training from Hyundai on how to service the trucks. With engineering and design support from the Fiedler Group, Papé Group also upgraded its maintenance facility with hydrogen detection and ventilation equipment to safely service the trucks. Additionally, the University of California Berkeley and the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project are assisting with data collection, community outreach efforts, and communication.

“Port-adjacent communities like West Oakland suffer disproportionately from the impacts of diesel freight, so we’re excited to explore how alternatives like hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks can move us toward our zero emissions goals,” said West Oakland Environmental Indicators’ Co-Director Brian Beveridge. “We look forward to a day when our community can breathe easy without the fear of toxic freight emissions.”

The trucks will provide Glovis with a total cost of ownership over six years that is nearly equivalent to the ownership cost of Glovis’ diesel trucks, with cost savings thereafter. The trucks, which have a range of more than 450 miles on a single fill of hydrogen, have primarily operated in drayage service, hauling freight and cars to destinations in the Bay Area and the Central Valley.

CTE served as the project manager, convening team members in regular subteam meetings, managing the flow of funds and all communications with project team members, and leading the development of key project deliverables. CTE successfully led the team in drafting a vehicle production plan describing the vehicle delivery timeline and plans for obtaining required certifications; led a maintenance facility assessment to determine the upgrades for maintaining hydrogen-fueled vehicles at Papé Trucks; and also led the team in drafting a community outreach plan detailing procedures for engaging the local community, including residents of West Oakland and local truck drivers that operate in and around the Port.

“The deployment of these trucks in Northern California provides a groundbreaking opportunity to demonstrate the exceptional performance of FCETs for an industry that has traditionally relied on conventional diesel and CNG vehicles,” said CTE Executive Director Dan Raudebaugh. “We look forward to being a part of a new era for trucking across the U.S. – one marked by zero-emission vehicles that don’t force fleets to compromise on performance.”

The NorCAL ZERO project is leading the introduction of Hyundai’s Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell electric trucks into the U.S. market. Hyundai, one of the largest vehicle manufacturers in the world, will bolster the growing domestic supplier base, which is a critical step to achieving cost reductions for zero-emission vehicles.

“Hyundai is incredibly proud and thankful to be a part of the largest ever single deployment of heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks in North America. The community in Oakland leads the way in clean, sustainable freight transportation and serves as a blueprint for many more deployments in the U.S. to come,” said Jim Park, Senior Vice President, Commercial Vehicle and Hydrogen Business Development at Hyundai Motor North America.



The Alameda County Transportation Commission (Alameda CTC) coordinates countywide transportation planning and delivers essential, voter-supported transportation improvements in every city throughout Alameda County. Alameda CTC administers the county’s Safe Routes to Schools Program and provides most of its funding through the voter approved transportation sales tax Measure BB, which was approved by more than 70 percent of voters in 2014. Visit Alameda CTC’s website to learn more, and follow Alameda CTC on Facebook and X, formally known as Twitter. 


The Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) is the regional agency responsible for protecting air quality in the nine-county Bay Area. Connect with the Air District via X/Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube


CARB's mission is to promote and protect public health, welfare, and ecological resources through effective reduction of air pollutants while recognizing and considering effects on the economy. CARB is the lead agency for climate change programs and oversees all air pollution control efforts in California to attain and maintain health-based air quality standards. 


Zero-Emission Drayage Truck and Infrastructure Pilot Project is part of California Climate Investments, a statewide initiative that puts billions of Cap-and-Trade dollars to work reducing greenhouse gas emissions, strengthening the economy and improving public health and the environment — particularly in disadvantaged communities. Learn more at 


This project is funded in part by the California Energy Commission’s Clean Transportation Program, which invests up to $100 million annually to support California communities, increase access to zero-emission vehicle infrastructure, support innovation, and accelerate the deployment of advanced transportation and fuel technologies. 


The Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) is a non-profit planning and engineering firm with the mission to improve the health of our climate and communities by bringing people together to develop and commercialize clean, efficient, and sustainable transportation technologies. For more information, visit