GM, Autocar collaborate on zero-tailpipe-emissions commercial vehicles

GM, Autocar collaborate on zero-tailpipe-emissions commercial vehicles

These jointly developed trucks will be powered by GM’s Hydrotec power cubes.

General Motors and Autocar Industries, LLC have signed a joint development agreement to create a range of zero tailpipe emissions vocational vehicles powered by GM’s Hydrotec power cubes.

“EV propulsion systems like GM’s Ultium Platform are great solutions for electrifying passenger vehicles, but larger vehicles like Autocar’s Class 8 trucks, refuse trucks and terminal tractors require robust solutions that enable significant energy carrying capacity and fast refueling times,” said Charlie Freese, GM executive director of global Hydrotec. “We want to enable zero tailpipe emissions solutions for the largest, highest energy consuming vehicles, and fuel cells are ideal for the most energy intensive applications.”

These jointly developed trucks will be powered by GM’s Hydrotec power cubes. GM says that Hydrotec power cubes are compact, easy to package, scalable and can electrify vehicles and applications across a variety of industries.

The first of these vehicles is expected to go into production in 2026 at the Autocar Truck Plant in Birmingham, Alabama. Vehicles with Hydrotec technology will be built to order by Autocar and will be sold directly to customers. Cement mixers, roll-off and dump trucks, which all share a common architecture, will be built first, followed by refuse trucks and terminal tractors.

“Autocar provides customized vocational trucking solutions, and as regulations change, we see Hydrotec fuel cells as an additional avenue for our customers to meet their EPA requirements with zero tailpipe emissions vehicles,” said Eric Schwartz, president of Autocar. “GM’s scale, reliability and the capability of their Hydrotec fuel cell technology will enhance Autocar’s existing platforms.”

Each power cube contains more than 300 hydrogen fuel cells, along with thermal and power management systems and controls to fuel cell and battery life and performance while optimizing cold start capability.

Triz Engineering will provide expert integration support for power distribution between the fuel cell and batteries, which store electricity that is captured from regenerative braking or is created by the Hydrotec power cubes. Triz Engineering is a commercial vehicle engineering company owned by GVW Group, which also owns Autocar.

“We have carefully studied existing severe duty vocational trucks to understand their specific demands and requirements,” said Johann Vorster, president of Triz Engineering. “With GM and Autocar, we have built a fuel cell application that is unique within vocational vehicles — giving severe-duty trucking more options to be truly rugged and capable of achieving zero tailpipe emissions.”

GM’s Hydrotec fuel cell power cubes will be produced by GM in Brownstown, Michigan.

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