on a Traditional Tatra Chassis
The Green Deal, Digitization, Autonomous and Assistant Systems. All of this and much more have
a big influence in the development of modern road transport. Not only is pressure towards change
coming from legislative institutions, but also from vehicle drivers and operators. TATRA has always
followed modern trends and supplied the collective treasure trove of global automotive construction
with new, unique and effective solutions.
TATRA TRUCKS announced their development
of a hydrogen powered truck not too long ago.
Why have you decided to go down this path?
Is hydrogen the fuel of the future?
Currently, there is a large discussion within the segment of the automotive industry regarding the most
suitable, future-oriented fuel source. The top contenders currently include fully battery-powered electric
vehicles (BEV), fuel cell electric vehicles with hydrogen cells (FCEV) and some manufacturers are even
in favor of keeping traditional combustion engines,
but replacing regular gas with hydrogen.
„The advantages of this, other than the fact that we
get to keep our Tatra chassis, are that the electric
motor can be placed within the protected zone
above the spinal carrier pipe without affecting the
rigidity of the entire chassis The compatibility of
this solution with a multi-stage gearbox gives us
the ability to manufacture this new chassis on our
current assembly line.“
In order to determine whether BEV‘s or FCEV‘s are
more appropriate, we need to specify the vehicle’s
operation specifications. Tatra operates within the
heavy off-road vehicle segment for which FCEV
seems to be a better fit. This technology powers
the vehicle’s drive through electricity produced
from on-board hydrogen fuel cells. This means that
other than a traction electric motor, battery and
fuel cells, the vehicles also have pressure tanks containing gaseous hydrogen.
One of FCEV’s big advantages is the very short refuel time it requires, as filling the pressure tanks with
hydrogen only takes around 15 minutes. In the best
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possible scenario, BEV‘s take at least four times
longer to refuel, meaning that FCEV‘s offer the end
user more flexibility and business efficiency.
What is your estimate on when this new vehicle
might reach regular use? Is the development
of the hydrogen Tatra truck based solely in
Kopřivnice, or are you collaborating with
someone on this project?
The first prototype of the truck will be produced
in the second half of 2023, and operational tests
will take place in 2024. This is an entirely new drive
technology for us, so we are collaborating with
other research institutions. We are working with
institutions such as ÚJV Řež, the Řež Research Center, VŠCHT Prague and Devinn Jablonec n. N.
We want to construct our own fuel
station within our company grounds.
Do you also plan on developing other vehicles
powered by alternative fuel sources?
We are also preparing the construction of an electric
vehicle with a range extender (REx) as well as a hybrid vehicle. There is no one single universally applicable solution. One technology has an advantage
in difficult terrain, where another is for operation
within urban environments. For fire departments
and their demands for use, and also within the army,
are yet another entirely different story.
The storage and transportation of hydrogen are
fairly complicated matters. What is your strategy
for fuel logistics?
The European parliament approved a bill that requires EU countries to construct hydrogen fuel stations every 100 km on main roads by 2028. We also