Hyundai says it wants to explore opportunities in the U.S. commercial truck market with its new fuel-cell-powered HDC-6 Neptune Class 8 semi concept.

While Hyundai didn't give us much in the way of detail about its commercial concept, it did say that Neptune is a clean-sheet commercial vehicle design based on a "groundbreaking futuristic architecture." Hyundai's designers drew inspiration from World War II-era streamliner locomotives when penning the Neptune's exterior, resulting in a retro-futuristic, Art Deco design that gives off an almost Steampunk vibe—appropriate for something that produces only water from its tailpipe. 

"The HDC-6 Neptune evolves the Class 8 truck, looking toward the future in design, in-cab technology and propulsion system," Hyundai said in the Neptune's announcement. "The concept continues Hyundai’s leadership in moving to a decarbonized society and the advancement of zero-emission vehicles. This future truck will add to the company’s success in commercial vehicles, which are already sold in 130 countries around the world."

Shown at the this week's North American Commercial Vehicle (NACV) show, the Neptune is Hyundai's first stab at a fuel-cell commercial vehicle for the U.S., but far from its first fuel-cell effort in the transportation space; Hyundai sells its Nexo hydrogen fuel-cell crossover, which it launched in 2018, on the retail market here in the United States and elsewhere, and the company has other FCEV projects under its belt. Hyundai also has a deal in place to build 1,600 fuel-cell commercial vehicles in Switzerland in collaboration with H2 Energy. 

Nikola One electric semi truck

Nikola One electric semi truck

The HDC-6 Neptune would rival the Nikola One hydrogen fuel-cell semi, and it's one of two concepts Hyundai brought to NACV; the other, conveniently enough, is the clean-energy refrigerated trailer being towed behind the Neptune semi cab. Details about the trailer were similarly scant, though Hyundai says it is virtually immune to outside temperatures, and delivers full power even when the truck itself is off or merely idling.