Why the next truck you see may be a quiet, zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell rig

Sick of the road noise and pollution caused by semitrucks barreling down the road near your house?

They could soon be harder to hear, and healthier for you and for the planet.

The 3.7 million heavy-duty trucks that ship goods to consumers, haul raw materials across the country and transport components for manufacturers have long been powered by diesel engines that emit pollution and create significant road noise.

But an ambitious startup and several established automakers are promising to deliver hydrogen-powered semitrucks that would create zero harmful pollutants, emitting only water vapor, and no engine noise but for the whirl of an electric motor.

The bottom line? Living next to a highway with trucks could eventually become a much more pleasant experience – but only if the promise of hydrogen fuel cells finally pays off after decades of development.