Cummins and Navistar International have pledged to develop a heavy truck powered by hydrogen fuel cells, a project partly funded by the U.S. government.
“This vehicle will feature our next-generation fuel cell configuration and provides a springboard for us to advance our hydrogen technology for line haul trucks,” said Amy Davis, VP/president, new power at Cummins, in a prepared statement. “We are also excited to build on our strong relationship with Navistar, which dates back 80 years, and work together to lower costs and make hydrogen-powered vehicles more accessible for fleets to adopt.”
The Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy has awarded the project a grant as part of the “H2@Scale” initiative to develop affordable hydrogen production, distribution, and use. The award is one of two DOE grants awarded to Cummins, totaling more than $7 million, and will aid in the development of an integrated fuel cell electric powertrain for heavy-duty trucks with operational performance and total cost of ownership that supports near-term, rapid, and substantial penetration of the truck markets. This includes development of a solution that is highly manufacturable and scalable with a proven range of 300 miles or more and improved fuel economy over current heavy-duty trucks.
“Cummins is a trusted Navistar partner and collaborating with the company on this project is a milestone in learning integrations surrounding the functionality, adoption and scalability of hydrogen fuel cells as a power source for class 8 vehicles,” said Darren Gosbee, VP engineering at Navistar, in a statement. “Hydrogen offers great opportunity in the commercial vehicle sector and we’re proud to be part of the team working to develop a complete solution for customers.”
The powertrain will be integrated into an International RH Series and uses two HyPM HD90 power modules, made up of HD45 fuel cell stacks connected in series. Instead of having a single large fuel cell operate at an inefficient partial load, individual HD45 power modules can be turned on/off to provide adequate power at an efficient full load.
The prototype fuel cell class 8 truck will ultimately see a year-long field test. The truck will be integrated into Werner Enterprises’ fleet of more than 7,700 tractors and operated in real-world local and/or regional delivery operation out of Fontana, California.
“This integration aligns with our Environmental, Social and Governance initiatives as we continually look for new ways to reduce our carbon footprint,” said Scott Reed, SVP of fleet purchasing & maintenance, Werner Enterprises, in a statement. “Testing the vehicle in real-world conditions will help paint a full picture of how the system performs over challenging road conditions, including both hot and cold climates. In addition to that performance data, we are excited about the opportunity to provide feedback from Werner professional drivers, mechanics and fleet management to help the project team develop a comprehensive total cost of ownership analysis.”