LEGO Design for Hexagon Purus Class 8 Fuel Cell Truck Systems

Hexagon Group comprises four companies well known for their work in compressed gas equipment and services, among which Hexagon Purus is dedicated to the hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) market.

Hexagon Purus is well known for its range of composite cylinders and systems for the transport of compressed hydrogen and the integration of these systems on vehicles and trailers. While the competition is limited to several hundred kg of hydrogen per trailer, Hexagon’s latest offerings include 40-45 foot trailers with cylinder systems capable of 1164 and 1500 kg per trailer at 380 and 640 bar, respectively. Additionally, Hexagon Purus unveiled its new product line for ZEV Class 6 through 8 truck powertrains. trucks for large equipment manufacturers. It is expected that the hydrogen economy will take a decade or two to develop further, where OEMs cannot afford their individual effort for a small series of trucks based on the entirely new technology. This is where Hexagon Purus comes in to bring the OEM over the hump. The inspiration for Hexagon Purus is to make LEGO-like components that can be easily adapted to the chassis and cab of the truck. Current production is located in a small facility in Ontario, California, but there are plans to move to a new facility with larger space where production can be scaled up from several per batch to a few thousand per OEM order. The OEM will provide its own chassis and cab.

This is a niche market, where advanced engineering and innovation can thrive just ahead of its own truck offering. Hexagon Purus started with its own design for the 30-60 kg hydrogen refueling system with 4-6 tanks on board. Their new flagship system will hold up to 74 kg with 4 tanks and up to 109 kg with 6 tanks. Many of these systems are already proven and are incorporated into truck OEMs who build their own trucks.

“The zero-emissions revolution is moving at an increasing speed, and heavy trucking – among the most difficult sectors to reduce – is next. Hexagon Purus technology has already traveled 2 million miles on the road, helping heavy-duty OEMs and fleet customers achieve their climate ambitions,” said Morten Holum, CEO of Hexagon Purus ASA.

Next, Hexagon Purus developed a patented U-shape and W-shape battery design. The U-shape and W-shape will mate specifically in the space under the cab. According to the OEM’s vision, up to two 330 kWh (3,500 lb) batteries can be installed on the truck. The batteries use cylindrical cells with the highly advanced Lithium Nickel-Cobalt-Aluminium Oxide cathode material, making them much lighter than the common Iron-Phosphate option on the market. The design is so universal that the battery sets can also be installed on trailers, significantly increasing the electric range of trucks. Although weight is added, this design is specific to trailers dedicated to light but bulky cargo that leave trailers light enough before reaching DOT weight limits.

The third innovation, developed by Hexagon Purus, is the truck’s auxiliary subsystems block powered by the main high-voltage battery. The block fits perfectly in the engine compartment and provides the truck with 12V DC-DC conversion, E-HVAC for the passenger cabin and battery system, an air compressor for brakes and trailer operation, and power steering.

What remains for customization with OEMs are electric axles and fuel cells. Hexagon Purus will integrate the customer’s choice of electric motor axles driving the truck and will offer a choice of fuel cells that it can integrate. Depending on the design goals and duty cycle of the truck, one or more fuel cells may be incorporated. The power electronics that drive the electric motors are neatly concealed within the post-cab aerodynamic hood while on the other side it is supported by the hydrogen refueling system.

Owning many components and offering a specific choice of motors and fuel cells simplifies the development of truck control software and ensures long-term reliability and service.

Innovation, rapid design-to-market flow, and reliability give Hexagon Purus a competitive position in the Class 6-8 ZEV truck manufacturing market.

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