SoCalGas and Ford collaborate on hydrogen fuel truck to slash emissions

SoCalGas and Ford collaborate on hydrogen fuel truck to slash emissions

August 18, 2022 1 By Julie Campbell

The utility and automaker are working on the F-550 Super Duty fuel cell vehicle development.

Southern California Gas Co. (SoCalGas) recently announced a new collaboration with Ford Motor Company that will focus on developing an F-500 Super Duty hydrogen fuel truck for a demonstration project aimed at reducing commercial fleet emissions.

The fuel cell vehicle will be used to help show how a fleet’s emissions can be reduced.

The collaboration is a component of the SuperTruck 3 program from the US Department of Energy (DoE). Its purpose is to considerably reduce medium- and heavy-duty truck emissions. The utility is participating in this hydrogen fuel truck program as an additional step toward its ASPIRE 2045 sustainability goals as it aims to replace half its over-the-road fleet with reduced zero-emission vehicles by 2025 and raise that figure to 100 percent by 2035.

As a part of this hydrogen fuel truck partnership, SoCalGas will receive an F-500 Super Duty Truck from Ford for the evaluation of the prototype vehicle’s performance in the face of real-world conditions. The utility was selected for the evaluation of how the vehicle can meet the demands associated with utility work and due to its geographic location and climate goals. The project will also involve a temporary H2 refueling station located at the Bakersfield SoCalGas facility. The vehicle is slated for deployment in 2025.

Hydrogen fuel truck - H2 refueling

The hydrogen fuel truck project provides an opportunity to decarbonize large heavy-duty fleets.

The hydrogen fuel truck project will work on the decarbonization needs for large fleets such as utilities with requirements for rapid refueling, long ranges, 24/7 emergency response and onboard power needs.

“The companies that drive our economy and especially our transportation sector must collaborate on developing innovative technologies as we make the transition to a cleaner tomorrow,” said California Senator Josh Newman. “This groundbreaking project will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector, but it also offers promise toward tackling America’s current energy challenges.”

“Ford’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions across the globe includes investigating multiple technologies that will help us achieve these goals across a broad spectrum of applications,” said Ford Research and Advanced Engineering Executive Director Jim Buczkowski in a news release announcing the collaboration. “For our wide spectrum of Ford Pro customers, there are application gaps that battery electric vehicles just can’t fulfill yet, so we’re looking at hydrogen fuel cells to power larger, heavier commercial vehicles while still delivering zero tailpipe emissions.”

The hydrogen fuel truck collaboration will provide real-world testing of zero-carbon vehicles.

“We are honored to work with Ford on their strategy to help reduce emissions,” said SoCalGas Vice President of Clean Energy Innovations Neil Navin. “This project is a critical step toward finding real-world solutions to decarbonize heavy duty transportation such as our utility fleet with Ford’s H2 Fuel Cell Electric F-550.”

Throughout the length of this collaboration, SoCalGas will keep up its work with its research, development, and demonstration project partners in the areas of H2 technology, clean fuels, and infrastructure. The utility’s fleet already contains 50 hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (HFCEVs). This has made the company one of the first utilities in the United States to begin its transition to hydrogen fuel trucks.

At the moment, about one third of the company’s over-the-road fleet runs on clean fuels. It won the “Leading Private Fleet” Award in May at the 2022 ACT Expo, the largest advanced transportation and clean fleet event taking place in North America.

SoCalGas has also announced its intentions for the installation of 1,500 electric vehicle chargers by the end of 2024. They will be installed at 67 company facilities by that time. It currently has more than 10 active H2 pilot projects as an element of its overall commitment to becoming the safest, cleanest and most innovative energy company in the US.