GM to provide Southern Company with Hydrotec fuel cell-powered trucks

GM to provide Southern Company with Hydrotec fuel cell-powered trucks

GM is sending its trucks to Southern Company to demonstrate real-life applications of fuel cells for fleet and commercial customers.

GM revealed its latest fuel cell-related project, which is a hydrogen-based worksite ecosystem centered around its fleet of medium-duty fuel cell trucks. Southern Company, a gas and electric utility company based in the Southern US, will receive GM Hydrotec fuel cell-powered medium-duty trucks to be used as shop vehicles at its worksites. With funding awarded from the Department of Energy’s SuperTruck 3 program and the Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technologies Office, GM said it is sending its trucks to Southern Company to spearhead a pilot program that demonstrates real-life applications of fuel cells for fleet and commercial customers.

Built on a similar frame to the 2024 Chevrolet Silverado 5500 MD, the field evaluation fleet trucks will be powered by Hydrotec fuel cell systems. The prototype trucks are expected to have a GM-estimated range greater than 300 miles and a 19,500-pound gross vehicle weight rating. The trucks operate in a native 800V architecture and can produce more than 300kW peak power, GM said.

Southern Company, together with GM and Nel ASA, also will demonstrate an integrated hydrogen microgrid for fueling infrastructure, including a stationary fuel cell-based mobile power generator. Nel will provide the project with its PEM electrolyzers, which it said can help create green hydrogen onsite.

“These trucks and their accompanying hydrogen infrastructure can help enable a zero-emissions solution for HD and MD truck customers looking to meet their clean energy goals and reduce their operational noise and carbon footprint,” Charlie Freese, executive director of global Hydrotec said. “GM’s fuel cell technology gives these trucks a competitive edge against their diesel counterparts, with comparable towing and payload capabilities.”

This microgrid project, developed by Southern Company’s electric subsidiary Georgia Power with approval by the Georgia Public Service Commission, is expected to be located at a Georgia power plant. The initial field evaluation fleet prototypes were built in Southeastern Michigan, with testing taking place at GM’s Milford Proving Ground.

Southern Company, GM and Nel intend to use a microgrid approach to create green hydrogen at off-peak hours and use it to power the site’s operations when grid power is most expensive. GM said this stacked value system can enable both a more affordable and low-emissions approach, which it said can improve the economics and resiliency of the installation.

GM’s fuel cells also will help provide power for a 350kW fast charger for medium-duty battery electric vehicles and resilient power for the site. Ultimately, GM said Southern Company’s approach could help support sustainable infrastructure and transportation for the future.

Separately, the U.S. Army’s Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC) is supporting the development of fuel cell propulsion systems in these medium-duty trucks with additional funding.

According to GM, hydrogen fuel cells are a key component of its electrification strategy, which extends beyond battery-powered passenger vehicles. Fuel cells combine hydrogen and oxygen to generate electricity through an electrochemical reaction and enable the conversion of energy stored in hydrogen into electricity to power a vehicle, GM said.

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