The recent release of hydrogen economy roadmaps for several major countries emphasizes the need for accelerated worldwide investment in research and development activities for hydrogen production, storage, infrastructure and utilization in transportation, industry and the electrical grid. Due to the high gravimetric energy density of hydrogen, the focus of technologies that utilize this fuel has recently shifted from light-duty automotive to heavy-duty vehicle applications. Decades of development of cost-effective and durable polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cells must now be leveraged to meet the increased efficiency and durability requirements of the heavy-duty vehicle market. This Review summarizes the latest market outlooks and targets for truck, bus, locomotive and marine applications. Required changes to the fuel-cell system and operating conditions for meeting Class 8 long-haul truck targets are presented. The necessary improvements in fuel-cell materials and integration are also discussed against the benchmark of current passenger fuel-cell electric vehicles.