General Motors has entered a partnership with Navistar that will see the Detroit-based automaker supply its Hydrotec hydrogen power cubes to the commercial truck manufacturer for use in its new International RH Series fuel cell semi-truck.
Each International RH Series Class 8 semi will use two Hydrotec fuel cell power cubes, which consist of 300-plus hydrogen fuel cells along with integrated thermal and power management systems. The fuel cell cubes will be mounted on the side of the truck just behind the doors, close to where a diesel-powered semi truck’s fuel tanks are usually mounted. Navistar says the fuel cell-powered semi will have a target range of 500+ miles and a hydrogen fueling time of less than 15 minutes.
Each Hydrotec fuel cell power cube can provide a maximum of 80 kilowatts of net power. While the International RH will only use two fuel cell cubes, GM says up to three cubes can be arrayed in a single vehicle to achieve higher power ratings. The fuel cell cubes can also fit Class 5, 6, 7 or 8 trucks.
GM says its hydrogen fuel cell power cubes are a “zero-emissions alternative to diesel engines that work multiple shifts, require rapid refueling and travel with heavy payloads.” Unlike battery-powered electric vehicles, hydrogen EVs can refuel rapidly and are better suited carrying heavy cargo due to the system’s efficiency in storing electrons. The automaker says the Hydrotec power cubes were also designed to perform in even the harshest of environments, making them appropriate for trucking companies operating in the baking heat of the Arizona desert or during a snowy Michigan winter.
Navistar also took a minority stake in hydrogen refueling company OneH2 this week, which will handle the hydrogen production, fueling, storage, delivery and safety management for the fuel cell powered International RH Series truck program.
“Hydrogen fuel cells offer great promise for heavy duty trucks in applications requiring a higher density of energy, fast refueling and additional range,” Navistar president and CEO Persio Lisboa said in a statement. “We are excited to provide customers with added flexibility through a new hydrogen truck ecosystem that combines our vehicles with the hydrogen fuel cell technology of General Motors and the modular, mobile and scalable hydrogen production and fueling capabilities of OneH2.”
“GM’s vision of a world with zero emissions isn’t limited to passenger vehicles,” added GM’s executive vice president for global product development. “We’re thrilled to work with like-minded companies like Navistar and OneH2 to offer a complete solution for progressive carriers that want to eliminate tailpipe emissions with a power solution that can compete with diesel.”
The Navistar fuel cell semi truck will be commercially available for the 2024 model year, while the first test vehicles will hit the roads in late 2022.