General Motors (GM) presented a hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty truck concept, along with a plan to produce at least 20 all-electric passenger vehicles by 2023 on Monday at the company’s Design Dome in Warren, Mich.
The truck concept, nicknamed SURUS for Silent Utility Rover Universal Superstructure, is built on existing heavy-duty pickup truck platforms and could be used in drayage trucks, semi-tractor trucks or even an autonomous ambulance, said Kevin Kelly, a GM spokesman.
SURUS would be driven by two electric motors and feature four-wheel steering. GM expects to release more information about the project in the near future, Kelly said.
“There’s been a lot of talk about commercial relevance for hydrogen fuel cells,” said Michael Ramsey, an analyst for Gartner Inc.
In April, Toyota unveiled its hydrogen fuel cell heavy-duty truck called Project Portal, which underwent testing at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach during the summer. US Hybrid has also shown a hydrogen fuel cell truck that it intends to test, and Kenworth expects to sell its own model by the end of this year.
Fleet owners may be willing to purchase trucks powered by hydrogen fuel cells because buying decisions are based heavily on return on investment, Ramsey said. Hydrogen is more affordable and more efficient than gasoline or diesel, and hydrogen fuel cell vehicles are also capable of greater range than electric vehicles.
“With hydrogen, you can have the fuel at your own depot without having to find it out in the environment,” he said.