CTE Visits Hyundai in South Korea for the NorCAL ZERO Fuel Cell Electric Truck Project

December 2, 2022

CTE staff visited Hyundai Motor Company's headquarters in Seoul, South Korea to tour production facilities and participate in workforce training activities (L-R: PJ Callahan, Julia Schultz, Jaimie Levin).This October, the Center for Transportation and the Environment (CTE) visited Hyundai Motor Company's (HMC's) headquarters in Seoul, South Korea to advance the planning for the largest commercial deployment of Class 8 fuel-cell electric trucks (FCETs) in North America. The project, coined NorCAL ZERO, is a consortium of public and private partners aspiring to prove the commercial viability of FCETs by deploying 30 units of Class 8 XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks in Oakland, California in June 2023.

Since the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and the California Energy Commission (CEC) awarded CTE as the prime recipient and project manager of grants in July 2021, the project team has been working through constructing a hydrogen refueling station, upgrading a maintenance facility to service the trucks, and planning for the FCET deployment in northern California. The visit to Seoul allowed for project partners to advance critical project agreements, experience the truck-build process from raw materials to finished trucks, and attend a hands-on workshop at the Hyundai Cheonan Global Learning Center that highlighted standard truck maintenance practices and necessary workforce training.

CTE staff Julia Schultz (left) and Jaimie Levin (right) drove the XCIENT Fuel Cell on a controlled test track to experience the XCIENT Fuel Cell truck's comfortable cabin, compact turning radius, and minimal noise.

HMC experts explain the function of key drivetrain components onboard the XCIENT Fuel Cell that enable the trucks' 400+ mile range on a single fill of hydrogen at the R & D Facility.

At HMC's Research and Development facility in Namyang, South Korea, CTE witnessed many of the quality control measures that will ensure the FCETs experience high reliability and uptime. The team also took a first look at the inner workings of the XCIENT Fuel Cell and reviewed standard maintenance and service practices at the Hyundai Cheonan Global Learning Center. With fewer components to service than a conventional diesel-fueled truck, the team expects these vehicles will be simpler to maintain and benefit from reduced wear and tear on the brake components due to additional braking power provided by the electric motor.

                                                                                                                                                       Members of the NorCAL ZERO Team outside the Commercial Vehicle Manufacturing Plant where HMC will produce the XCIENT Fuel Cell trucks. Pictured above is a production unit built for HMC's deployment in Switzerland, a similar model to the NorCAL ZERO trucks. The trucks will be built on an assembly line specifically intended for prototype vehicles.

                                                                                                                                                       HMC staff highlighting the expansive facilities at the Dangjin Integrated Steelworks Plant. The plant is reducing its environmental impact by storing dusty raw materials indoors to eliminate their potential to contaminate local air and water bodies.

CTE also visited the XCIENT Fuel Cell commercial manufacturing facility in Jeonju, South Korea where HMC plans to build the 30 trucks for NorCAL ZERO, and Dangjin Integrated Steelworks, an innovative eco-friendly steel plant, which showcases HMC's commitment to sustainability in raw materials sourcing.

CTE would like to extend a special thank you to Hyundai Motor Company for graciously hosting us during our stay in South Korea.


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 atcaclimateinvestments.ca.gov.


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. Learn more at https://www.energy.ca.gov/programs-and-topics/programs/clean-transportation-program.

ABOUT Hyundai Motor Company

Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is present in over 200 countries with more than 120,000 employees dedicated to tackling real-world mobility challenges around the globe. Based on the brand vision ‘Progress for Humanity,' Hyundai Motor is accelerating its transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider. The company invests in advanced technologies such as robotics andAdvancedAir Mobility (AAM) to bring about revolutionary mobility solutions, while pursuing open innovation to introduce future mobility services. In pursuit of sustainable future for the world, Hyundai will continue its efforts to introduce zero emission vehicles equipped with industry-leading hydrogen fuel cell and EV technologies.More information about Hyundai Motor and its products can be found at: http://worldwide.hyundai.com; http://globalpr.hyundai.com; https://trucknbus.hyundai.com/hydrogen/en

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