Quantron shows off some massive new hydrogen trucks, auto companies are spending less on ads, there’s a new Subaru Crosstrek. Al this and more in today’s issue of The Morning Dump.
Welcome to The Morning Dump, bite-sized stories corralled into a single article for your morning perusal. If your morning coffee’s working a little too well, pull up a throne and have a gander at the best of the rest of yesterday.
Quantron Announces Massive New Hydrogen Trucks
Hydrogen’s been experiencing a bit of a rebirth in recent months. From the hydrogen hybrid Hyundai N Vision 74 to news of a hydrogen-powered BMW X5, this renewed interest in fuel cells should make up for some of the shortcomings of batteries. Now, it’s the commercial vehicle sector’s turn to really consider hydrogen. Truck company Quantron just unveiled its QHM FCEV 60-2000 truck, a hydrogen-powered rig that’s expected to pack up to 1,500 km (932 mi.) of range. Perhaps more surprisingly, Quantron unveiled another rig with an estimated 1,500 km of range called the QHM FCEV 44-2000. So how has Quantron done it?
Well, really big tanks is the short answer. The tanks that enable 1,500 km of range can hold 116 kg of hydrogen, an absolutely insane amount of energy given hydrogen’s energy density of 120 Mj/kg. Shoehorning these tanks into trucks requires a little bit of clever thinking, but Quantron has pulled it off and integrated the tanks into the chassis.
The announcement comes as fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems takes a minority stake in the truck company. Speaking in a media release, Ballard Power Systems’ CEO seems fairly stoked on the arrangement.
“We are seeing growing global demand and policy support for zero emission transport as companies strive to reach decarbonization targets. This collaboration accelerates our entry into the European truck market and aims to have Quantron’s initial hydrogen-powered, zero emission trucks on the road in the next 18 months,” said Randy MacEwen, CEO, Ballard Power Systems.
Eighteen months, huh? That’s not a very long amount of time, so I’m very interested in watching this play out. Should things actually launch as planned, this could be a thorn in Elon Musk’s side as Tesla has promised an all-electric battery-powered semi truck with no firm timeline on manufacturing. Could battery power be entering this race on the wrong foot?
[Ed Note: The nice thing about hydrogen for long-haul trucking is that, unlike with regular passenger vehicles, you generally know where people are going so you could, in theory, stack up fewer hydrogen stations in obvious places. – MH]
Hyundai And Iveco Team Up On Hydrogen Trucks
Hyundai and Iveco have unveiled something new at IAA Transportation 2022, a Hyundai fuel cell stuffed into an Iveco chassis cab. While it remains a prototype for now, it holds incredible promise regarding the future of commercial vehicles.
Called the eDAILY FCEV, this fully-functional prototype features Hyundai’s 90 kW hydrogen fuel cell system and a 140 kW electric motor. Six fuel tanks offering a combined storage capacity of 12 kg of hydrogen doesn’t sound like a lot, but hydrogen’s energy density should mean that 12 kg are plenty. The prototype packs an impressive driving range of 350 km (217 miles), a maximum payload of three tons, and a refueling time within 15 minutes.
While it’s easy to not take hydrogen seriously, it’s one of the most viable ways of powering zero-emission commercial fleets. Hydrogen refueling is quick, reducing downtime, while hydrogen itself is incredibly energy-dense, likely enhancing towing capability over current battery technology.
The Automotive Industry Is Spending Less On Ads
If you feel like you haven’t been seeing as many car ads as you used to, you’re not going crazy. Reuters reports that auto industry ad spending over the first seven months of 2022 fell 4 percent year-over-year to $4.8 billion.
Digital ad spending accounted for 53% of the total $4.80 billion the industry spent during the period, according to data from Standard Media Index (SMI).
The overall ad spend was 12.7% less compared to the same period in pre-pandemic 2019 at $5.50 billion, as spending from dealerships, traditionally among the biggest in the industry, suffers due to a shortage of vehicles.
It’s no secret that cars are a hot commodity right now, and when new models aren’t just sitting around on lots, there isn’t a ton of incentive for automakers and dealerships to spend money on advertising. While there’s a chance that ad spending will rise once supply catches up with demand, any possibility of that happening won’t occur for at least a few months.
Subaru Has A New Crosstrek
I’d like to apologize to all Subaru fans for not covering the new Crosstrek on Thursday as I was going through the rather lengthy process of an EV road trip. Still, a new Crosstrek is here, and while the changes aren’t massive, here’s what’s worth noting. While the exterior styling is best described as almost identical to the old model, the interior looks like a massive improvement. It’s largely identical to the interior in the new WRX, which means that ergonomics and material selection should be much nicer than on the old car. In addition, the new Subaru Global Platform should pay dividends in cabin noise and structural rigidity.
While powertrains for the North American market haven’t yet been revealed, I wouldn’t expect anything radically different from what’s in the current car. Look, the new Crosstrek isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel, but that’s okay. It looks like a pragmatic little car that should have decent snow capability. There’s something fairly pleasing about having a car that simply works, and the Crosstrek should be a perfectly good daily driver.
So long as the new Crosstrek doesn’t move the needle too far on pricing, it should be a smash hit. It shouldn’t alienate the legions of Crosstrek fans who feel that the Forester has simply grown too big, plus the interior improvements should be very welcome indeed. Maybe Subaru can even get Hobo Johnson for the ad campaign… assuming they even do an ad campaign.
Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. It’s Monday, which means we’re setting down the Torx sockets and getting back into the daily grind. Still, I’d love to know what car stuff you got up to this past weekend. Whether you picked up body supplies like I did, went for a quick rip around some backroads, or finally saved up enough to buy your own lift, let’s hear all the wonderful car things last weekend brought you.
Lead photo credit: Quantron