World’s First Zero-Emission Hauler

Braås, Sweden

Supporting Volvo CE in creating their first hydrogen electric driveline


Combining fuel cells with an electric powertrain provides a zero-emission solution that can eliminate several million tons of yearly CO2 emissions worldwide. In collaboration with Volvo Construction Equipment (Volvo CE) and RISE (Research Institutes of Sweden), we contributed to the design of fossil-free heavy work machines. The project brings Sweden closer to hosting the world’s first zero-emission dump truck manufacturing.


The demand for zero-emission electrified construction sites intensifies the strategic importance of developing fossil-free heavy-duty construction machines. Multiple solutions can be applied to power the electrified vehicle, like cable, batteries, or fuel cells, depending on the machine and its use case.


Fuel cell in an electric vehicle
Fuel cells and battery hybrid powering the electric drivetrain add the instant power needed to move heavy loads up a steep hill and the long-lasting power for a full day of challenging drive cycles. It is also fast to refuel, and the hydrogen fuel cell enables full access to the vehicle at all times.


Maintain world-leading position
To maintain their world-leading position within the segment, Volvo CE saw the need to build knowledge about combining fuel cells with existing electric powertrains, resulting in this project with us and RISE.

System optimization

The vehicle properties are optimized through dimensioning between the battery and the fuel cell; for example, a larger battery and a small fuel cell as a “range-extender” or a larger fuel cell and a small battery, used only for handling dynamic loads. The fuel cell efficiency decreases towards the limits of its power output. Therefore, choosing a larger size to run it at a comfortable cruising speed is beneficial. It comes at a marginal cost and provides several advantages:

• A longer life span
• Reduced increase in fuel consumption when approaching the end of life
• Ability to handle tougher than projected driving conditions
• Lower total cost of ownership


Going forward
The primary users of the project’s results are Volvo CE, RISE, and PowerCell, but also the end customer and the Swedish energy agency. The Volvo Group currently develops a strategy for the electrification of work machines as the basis for future product and project plans.


The project demonstrated the capability of a hydrogen powered vehicle and its competitiveness with both conventional fuel and other zero emission alternatives.


Installing new technology

Volvo CE, PowerCell and RISE acquired considerable knowledge about safety and regulations, how an electrified dumper works, and what is essential for the fuel cell operation in this context. The following items required consideration, for example:

• Design and installation of hydrogen tank system
• Hydrogen refuel station
• Fuel cell and complimentary battery system requirements
• Power management strategies
• Security and risk management
• Heat Management


The project finished in the spring of 2022, with a vehicle demonstration at the Volvo CE test site in Braås. PowerCell Group integrated a 100 kW fuel cell system with peripheral components, provided risk assessment input and assisted Volvo CE in integrating the system in the 20-ton dump truck. RISE contributed with expertise in safety, driveline dimensioning and electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) along with its available network.


Energy density and zero emissions

The Heavy duty P System 100 fuel cell matches the energy density of conventional solutions but has zero emissions. The fuel cell uses hydrogen gas and oxygen from the air to produce electricity, emitting only heat and water vapor.