Way back in January 2022, GM Authority reported that General Motors was developing the Hydrotec fuel cell technology for commercial vehicle application. Now, nearly a year-and-a-half later, The General is ready to begin equipping work trucks and other heavy-duty commercial vehicles with the hydrogen fuel cell technology.
According to a report from SAE, GM Hydrotec and GM Defense Executive Director Charlie Freese went on record stating that Hydrotec is ready to be implemented into commercial applications.
“Large vehicles and heavy payloads – that’s where replacing petroleum-fueled vehicles with hydrogen fuel cells works very well,” Freese claimed. “That’s where we plan to go moving forward.”
Freese pointed to the Hydrotec Power Cube – a modular hydrogen fuel cell system – as the reason why the technology is suitable for commercial vehicles or stationary-power applications. This Power Cube is composed of more than 300 second-generation fuel cells that are configured in a way that makes it compact and easily packaged, along with allowing for power-and thermal-management systems.
Notably, the second-gen design has markedly reduced reliance on precious metals for construction. More specifically, the Gen 0 design used roughly 80 grams of platinum, the Gen 1 used 30 grams, and the Gen 2 tech uses only 20 grams.
“Our process has been to optimize the way fuel cells operate,” Freese stated. He went on to explain that reduced dimensions have a “much more manufacturable design.”
The reasoning behind the application of Hydrotec technology into commercial vehicles goes deeper than just packaging constraints. General Motors Vice President of Global Electrification, Controls, Software and Electronics Dan Nicholson commented earlier this year that the Detroit-based automaker firmly believes that fuel cell technology in heavier vehicles is the future due to the drawbacks of the rugged work environment commercial vehicles endure.