General Motors is looking to hydrogen-powered trucks
General Motors is looking to hydrogen-powered trucks

General Motors announced that it will partner with Navistar Trucks and OneH2 to bring more hydrogen-powered long haul trucks to the road.

In cooperation with JB Hunt Transport, these three companies plan to offer a complete heavy truck fleet solution without hydrogen.

The move further shows that despite severe restrictions on fuel, automakers still rely on hydrogen, which is the most abundant element in the universe.

As part of the deal, Navistar will launch a new fuel cell vehicle called the International RH Series Truck in 2024.

The beta version of the truck will be released before 2022. The two companies aim to enable fuel cell vehicles with engines to travel more than 800 kilometers in less than 15 minutes to refuel.

Navistar description of the RH series international truck drive system: The fuel cell electric vehicle is powered by two GM Hydrotec fuel cell power providers.

Each energy cube contains more than 300 hydrogen fuel cells plus energy and heat management systems. It is small, easy to add, and can be used for many different applications.

The hydrogen fuel cell was developed a few decades ago. Compressed hydrogen is used as fuel and only emits water vapor in the form of emissions. Recently, it achieved sufficient energy and range to replace gasoline.

However, due to the almost complete lack of fuel infrastructure, the use of hydrogen as a common fuel source has been hampered. Experts predict that commercial vehicles such as trucks and forklifts can benefit the most from hydrogen when entering central and industrial filling stations.

Other automakers have also expressed an interest in hydrogen-powered trucks. Toyota introduced a fuel cell truck concept in 2019 as part of a feasibility study for the Port of Los Angeles that outlined the port's efforts to reduce harmful emissions.

Nikola is the best example of the hydrogen promise. The startup has claimed that its hydrogen-powered truck will have a mileage of 1,930 kilometers upon launch in 2020, but that hasn't happened.

Navistar is a gamble for General Motors as it was on the verge of bankruptcy in 2016 after wasting billions of dollars on diesel engines without EPA approval.

After the US regulator announced new regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from large trucks, Navistar has come under pressure to find technical partners. At this point, Volkswagen switched to buying shares in the company and has pursued more stable causes since then.

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