While everyone is focusing on the potential of all electric vehicles, who’s leading the charge on hydrogen fuel technology? In the context of semi-trailer trucks, that appears to be Hyundai, who already has a model in production. They call it the Xcient Fuel Cell.

First revealed in 2020, the hydrogen powered semi truck has been in trial tests in Switzerland since. While based on the diesel truck powertrain, this system uses a single electric motor powered by a hydrogen fuel cell stack and battery combo. It's rated at 469 hp and 1,650 lb-ft of torque. And with a 68 pound fuel limit, it's estimated to be capable of around 250 miles per full tank.

The brand announced on Monday that tests have gone well and they will be launching the vehicle in North America, Europe, and China in 2023. While later than originally planned, this is still earlier than we actually expected. It will first be seen as part of the NorCAL ZERO Project, where 8 examples of the model will be put into operation in California, at the Port of Oakland.

The greatest concern, really, is the refueling potential. The Hyundai Motor Group announced a large investment toward United States infrastructure. And while some of it will go towards developing hydrogen refueling stations, a strong majority is going towards electrification. Fuel is the biggest hurdle for hydrogen-based vehicles. Available refueling stations are rare and somewhat expensive. And since they lack the ease of conversion that full-electrics have, it's not as easy to build and supply refueling stations.

We’re skeptical toward the success of hydrogen as a fuel supply, but this seems like one of the stronger instances to show the real potential for the option. We can only wait and see how sustainable it might be.