For the first time, a GenH2 truck prototype of the Mercedes-Benz brand has successfully completed altitude tests on public roads. One focus of the test runs: crossing the Brenner Pass, one of the main arteries of European freight traffic.
In 2019 alone, around 40 million tons of freight were transported by truck over the four-lane transit route of the 1,370-metre-high Alpine crossing on the border between Austria and Italy. This corresponds to almost 2.5 million transit trucks per year.
During the week-long test drives, Daimler truck engineers crossed the Brenner several times with the fuel cell semitrailer truck unloaded with typical load weight on the approximately 120 km long motorway route between Bolzano and Innsbruck. The only emission on the trip: pure water vapour.
The Italian city of Bolzano, where there is a hydrogen filling station operated by H2 Südtirol, served as the base for the test drives. The location of Bolzano is ideal for testing the use of the fuel cell at different altitudes.
Another highlight of the tests was the drive with the tractor unit up to the Penser Joch at an altitude of 2211 metres. The findings of the first high-altitude test drives on the interaction of fuel cell and battery in demanding topography as well as on the anticipatory operating strategy on the Brenner route are now being incorporated into the further development towards a series vehicle. Further test drives in the mountains are planned for the coming year.
In addition to hydrogen-based drives, Daimler Truck is also focusing on battery-electric drives. The Mercedes-Benz GenH2 truck is being designed for particularly flexible and demanding operations, especially in the important segment of heavy long-distance transport. The development goal is a range of 1,000 kilometres and more. The start of series production is planned for the second half of the decade.