NEWS: General Motors to Develop Fleet of Hydrogen Medium-duty Trucks for DOE Pilot

Is General Motors at the early stages of building and releasing hydrogen trucks?

General Motors

GM’s latest fuel cell-related project is a hydrogen-based worksite ecosystem, centered around its fleet of medium duty fuel cell trucks. With funding awarded from the Department of Energy’s SuperTruck 3 program and the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, GM is spearheading a pilot program that demonstrates real life applications of fuel cells for fleet and commercial customers. 

Built on a similar frame to the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado 5500 MD, these field evaluation fleet trucks will be powered by HYDROTEC fuel cell systems. The prototype trucks are expected to have a GM-estimated range greater than 300 miles and a 19,500-lb. gross vehicle weight rating. The trucks operate in a native 800V architecture and can produce more than 300 kW peak power.

Pilot Program

Southern Company will receive HYDROTEC fuel cell-powered medium duty trucks to be used as shop vehicles at its worksites. Southern Company, together with GM and Nel ASA, will also demonstrate an integrated hydrogen microgrid for fueling infrastructure, including a stationary fuel cell-based mobile power generator. Nel will provide the project with its advanced PEM electrolyzers, which can help create green hydrogen onsite.

“These trucks and their accompanying hydrogen infrastructure can help enable a zero-emissions solution for HD and MD truck customers looking to meet their clean energy goals as well as reduce their operational noise and carbon footprint,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of global HYDROTEC. “GM’s advanced fuel cell technology gives these trucks a competitive edge against their diesel counterparts, with comparable towing and payload capabilities.”

Learn More: What's the difference between hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen internal combustion engine?

Developing Fuel Cell Technology for Fleets

Hydrogen fuel cells are a component of GM’s electrification strategy, which extends beyond battery-powered passenger vehicles. Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction. The fuel cell enables the conversion of energy stored in hydrogen into electricity to power a vehicle.

A pillar of GM’s electrification strategy is developing foundational technologies that will help other industries and companies meet their clean energy goals. GM's HYDROTEC fuel cells both can help fleet customers meet changing regulations in states like California, as well as help meet their own sustainability goals and potentially reduce fleet costs over time.

In addition, GM Envolve was formed to help fleets make the transition to electric and fuel cell vehicles and to work with and provide them with the broad spectrum of GM technologies, including fuel cells. GM Envolve also works with fleets and hydrogen infrastructure providers to help establish hydrogen hubs where the fleets need it most. 

This microgrid project, developed by Southern Company’s electric subsidiary Georgia Power with approval by the Georgia Public Service Commission, is expected to be located at a Georgia power plant. Southern Company, GM and Nel intend to use their microgrid approach to create green hydrogen at off-peak hours and use it to power the site's operations when grid power is most expensive.

GM’s fuel cells will also help provide power for a 350 kW fast charger for medium-duty battery electric vehicles and power for the site.

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