On the
renewable path.

Unimog WaVe:
hydrogen pioneer in a practical test.

Times change, but performance remains performance. And decades of experience pay off, even in the context of the energy transition. This is what the Unimog WaVe, the hydrogen-powered prototype of the long-standing workhorse from Daimler Truck, stands for. The implement carrier has already proven its roadworthiness. However, the Unimog WaVe also makes a good impression as a work tool – as demonstrated by its mowing operations in wintry Bayreuth with Autobahn GmbH. 

Climate-friendly mower.

The Unimog WaVe is on its way to Upper Franconia, heading for Bayreuth. But not to the famous Wagner Festivals, but to a place that seems much less spectacular at first glance: a decommissioned section of the motorway. But on this route between Bayreuth and Bamberg, something more spectacular is happening than you might think.

Namely one of the first work assignments with a hydrogen-powered Unimog. A small step for Daimler Truck, a big one for the automotive industry.  

After a two-year project period, we are
in practical testing
with the first Unimog prototype.

Franziska Cusumano, CEO, Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks


More precisely, the trip to Bayreuth was a test drive by the vehicle developers with employees of Autobahn GmbH in order to collect data for the hydrogen combustion engine in real operation. For this purpose, the Unimog WaVe was equipped with a front mower consisting of two mowing heads.

On the motorway section near Bayreuth, the prototype modelled on the Unimog U 430 implement carrier must prove itself against its diesel-powered counterparts. Namely as a mobile mower. At low temperatures and with a demanding terrain profile.

First-hand feedback.

Mowing the verge of the motorway is followed by acceleration runs and finally a refuelling stop at a public fuelling pump. The measurement data will still be useful in the further development of vehicles when it comes to bringing the climate-friendly alternative to the combustion engine finally onto the market.  

“The tests with employees of Autobahn GmbH in Upper Franconia are particularly valuable for us because here we can incorporate important feedback from practice directly into our development,” explains Franziska Cusumano, Head of Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks and Custom Tailored Trucks.

“WaVe” project: Discover alternatives together.

The Unimog WaVe is being developed as a test vehicle for a hydrogen (Wa) combustion engine (Ve) that could replace the conventional diesel engine in the long term. The “WaVe” project, funded by the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, started in 2021 and is being implemented jointly by a total of 18 partners from industry and science.

Initial results from the WaVe project have already shown that the hydrogen combustion engine has the potential to be a sensible, complementary solution to previous drive types. This applies in particular to the Unimog, which is to continue to deliver its usual strong performance in a limited installation space.

Find out more

In view of the positive test results and the state of development of the Unimog WaVe, there is every reason for the head of Special Trucks to be happy: "We are very satisfied with the current state of development of the test vehicle. After a good two-year project period, we are already in practical testing with the first operational Unimog prototypes featuring a hydrogen combustion engine." That's something to be proud of.

Sophisticated technology.

The Unimog WaVe is equipped with a gas engine that has been specially adapted to run on hydrogen. For this purpose, it has a special tank, safety, monitoring and measurement technology system. The combustion of hydrogen in the engine produces water, which is then emitted as vapour.

The wheelbase and platform length of the Unimog WaVe have been designed to accommodate four TÜV-tested 700-bar hydrogen tanks behind the driver’s cab, which store a total of around 14 kg of hydrogen. Two of the tanks can be monitored independently of each other by tank control units.

In a future development phase, the tank volume will be adapted to the requirements of a regular working day. The engine of the Unimog WaVe achieves a remarkable output of around 290 hp (1000 Nm) and is noticeably quieter than its diesel equivalent.

The technology behind the Unimog WaVe

The future needs support.

After the Unimog WaVe has successfully passed its first practical test in Bayreuth, the development team has until the end of 2024 July to fine-tune the project . There is no doubt about the future viability of the project for Günter Pitz, Head of Drive Development at Mercedes-Benz Special Trucks.

"The hydrogen combustion drive concept can serve as a blueprint for power-intensive applications in the special-purpose vehicle sector. On construction sites, in the municipal or agricultural sector, it could be used to drive and work while generating very low emissions," says the engineer, once again emphasising the potential advantages of this type of drive.

For Günter Pitz, support from the public sector as well as private partners is indispensable: “In order to achieve series production maturity levels for such vehicles, there is also a need for continued financial predictability through targeted funding.” Where this is guaranteed, nothing less than a transformation of the German automotive industry can be achieved – and without sacrificing its decades of expertise in the field of combustion engines.

And the Unimog would once again be among the first.      

Do you want to find out more
about the Unimog implement carrier?


View product information

Relevant product information

Show all digital product information

The Unimog implement carrier.

Flexible attachment and mounting options, year-round use, cost-effective operation, safe on the road and robust off-road.

The extreme off-road Unimog.

Developed as a reliable powerhouse with one goal: the utmost in indestructibility.

Unimog Municipal.

The specialist for municipal tasks can be used to full capacity up to 365 days a year. And thus more than pays for itself.

visible-md and up (hidden-sm and down)
visible-lg and up (hidden-md and down)