Hyundai has announced that it will be deploying hydrogen-powered lorries in California as part of two projects looking to improve air quality in the region.

The world’s first mass-produced heavy-duty lorry powered by hydrogen uses Hyundai’s XCIENT fuel cell technology.

First showcased last year, the XCIENT Fuel Cell has already been tested extensively and has the ability to return a range of up to 500 miles per fill-up.

Up to 30 of the vehicles will be deployed – starting from the second quarter of 2023 – representing the largest commercial deployment of hydrogen-powered trucks in America. It’s led by a consortium including the Center for Transportation and the Environment, which in partnership with Hyundai won millions of dollars worth of grants to support the project.

Known as the NorCAL Zero project, the programme will see Glovis America – a logistics service provider – operating the trucks.

“We are proud to fund this hallmark deployment of 30 hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks and improve the air quality in Northern California,” said Hannon Rasool, Deputy Director of Fuels and Transportation Division at the California Energy Commission.

“These investments will support zero-emission trucks and infrastructure development and deployment as part of the US market ecosystem. Public and private project partners have come together to take a big step forward in decarbonising freight and goods movement, as part of CARB and CEC’s clean air initiatives.”