Over the past decade, Stellantis has been maximizing the potential of its two iconic vehicles, the V8 Rams and the fuel-thirsty Jeeps. However, this focus on traditional models has somewhat overshadowed the company’s efforts to embrace electric mobility, a move that had previously earned it significant carbon credits. Now, Stellantis is ready to make a bold leap ahead of its competitors with a new line of plug-in hybrid electric cars (PHEVs), including a hydrogen-powered Ram HD truck.

According to reports from the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag, Stellantis has commenced production of a hydrogen fuel-cell Ram 5500 in Poland. While the initial production volume is small, the plan is to expand production in Mexico for the US market, where the 5500 is sold as a frame cab. Ram’s ambitious goal is to sell 100,000 hydrogen trucks annually, a move that could potentially make 40% of its commercial car fleet emission-free, at least in Europe.

Report: The Ram HD with a hydrogen fuel cell is coming to the US

The timing of Ram’s H2 vow is strange, and it fits perfectly with Stellantis, who was slow to get electricity. Hydrogen has been sold for a long time as a straight replacement for fossil fuels, but it has yet to catch on very well. This is because of a number of issues, the main one being that storing hydrogen energy is too expensive at the moment. Hydrogen electrolysis could be the most cost-effective way to refine hydrogen, but it needs a lot of power and could be more useful if fossil fuels are the main source of energy. In fact, hydrogen’s poor conversion efficiency needs to be balanced out by a lot of clean energy.

Even in places where the government strongly supports hydrogen cars, their cost has made them less popular. For example, sales of hydrogen-powered cars have dropped so much in California that Shell had to shut down its consumer-facing hydrogen-filling program. This means that owners of FCEVs like the Honda Clarity, Hyundai Nexo, Toyota Mirai, and others no longer have a car.

Even so, H2’s case is still strong for fleet and industrial uses, which is where the Ram 5500 is mostly used. New fuels, like hydrogen, work better when they are run from a central hub or in a specialty service network (like long-haul haulage), especially when they are made on-site. Ram shouldn’t try to sell a fuel-cell truck to the customer FCEV market, which is going out of business, but should instead focus on this market alone.

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