General Motors will supply its Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell system to Navistar for use in commercial trucks, the companies announced Wednesday.
Navistar is developing a semi-tractor using the technology with an eye on having test trucks on the road by late 2022.
GM’s Hydrotec Power Cube is equipped with 300 fuel cells that combine hydrogen with atmospheric oxygen to generate electricity, along with the thermal management and power control systems needed to operate it. Installed on a truck equipped with hydrogen storage tanks, each Power Cube can send 80 kilowatts of power to an electric drivetrain.
Navistar has partnered with shipping giant J.B. Hunt to pilot the technology and hopes to have the vehicles commercially available in 2024 with a range of over 500 miles and a refueling time of 15 minutes. Hydrogen supplier OneH2 is partnering with the effort to provide supply and refueling systems for fleet customers.
General Motors is also providing the Hydrotec technology to startup Nikola Motors through a non-binding agreement that followed the dissolution of a previous arrangement that would’ve seen GM take a $2 billion stake in the company in exchange for the technology. GM backed out of the original deal after fraud allegations were levied against Nikola founder Trevor Milton by short-seller Hindenberg Research that led to Milton’s resignation as executive chairman.
Navistar is one of several truck manufacturing giants that is working on hydrogen powertrains as a carbon-neutral alternative to diesel, along with Toyota and Hyundai, while Tesla and Freightliner are focused on developing battery-powered electric semis.