GM’s Hydrotec Inks Deal With Komatsu for Fuel-Cell Heavy Vehicles

General Motors, arguably the industry leader in hydrogen fuel-cell technology, inks deals with Komatsu and Autocar Industries to co-develop vocational vehicles.

David Kiley, Senior Editor

December 13, 2023

2 Min Read
kkkKomatsu 930E HFC truck_2
Komatsu vehicle, heavily used by mining companies, is industry-leading vehicle of its kind.

General Motors is developing a hydrogen fuel-cell module with mining- and agricultural-vehicle giant Komatsu, the second time in a week the automaker has announced a deal to develop vocational vehicles powered by its Hydrotec fuel-cell technology.

GM and Komatsu will co-develop the module for Komatsu’s 930E electric-drive mining truck, the world’s best-selling ultra-class haul truck. The two companies will work together to design and validate the technology.

GM last week also announced a deal with Autocar Industries to develop vocational vehicles powered by Hydrotec.

Vocational vehicles and heavy trucks are being regulated into replacing diesel propulsion systems with zero-emission systems. Though there are applications coming to the market and in development to replace diesel with batteries, there is widespread consensus that for truly heavy vehicles, hydrogen fuel cells are a better replacement technology.

While hydrogen supply, production and general infrastructure have been a problem up to now, the U.S. government is investing in the build-out of hydrogen production and distribution hubs, and private industry is building out more as well.

Vehicles such as the Komatsu 930E mining truck, with its nominal payload of 320 tons, is typical of low-hanging fruit as far as hydrogen fuel cells go. These vehicles typically operate at a single mine throughout their life, which simplifies the challenges of sizing and deploying an effective hydrogen refueling infrastructure to service the vehicle fleet.

“At GM, we believe fuel cells can play an integral role in a zero-emissions future, helping to electrify heavier-duty applications beyond passenger vehicles,” says Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s Global Hydrotec business. “Mining trucks are among the largest, most capable vehicles used in any industry, and we believe hydrogen fuel cells are best suited to deliver zero-emissions propulsion to these demanding applications.”

Komatsu says it has set a target of reducing its global emissions by 50% by 2030 and a challenge target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. Plans for achieving these goals include reducing and eliminating emissions within the company’s product offerings, as well as in the company’s facilities and manufacture of its products.

“Finding new ways to power the equipment our customers need to do the vital work of mining and construction is a critical part of our commitment to supporting a more sustainable future,” says Dan Funcannon, vice president of North America engineering and development for Komatsu.

GM’s target is to be fully carbon-neutral in both products and operations by 2040.

GM and Komatsu intend to test the first prototype Hydrotec-powered mining vehicle in the mid-2020s at Komatsu’s Arizona Proving Grounds R&D facility. This vehicle will be powered by over two megawatts of Hydrotec power cubes.

About the Author(s)

David Kiley

Senior Editor, WardsAuto

David Kiley is an award winning journalist. Prior to joining WardsAuto, Kiley held senior editorial posts at USA Today, Businessweek, AOL Autos/Autoblog and Adweek, as well as being a contributor to Forbes, Fortune, Popular Mechanics and more.

Subscribe to a WardsAuto newsletter today!
Get the latest automotive news delivered daily or weekly. With 5 newsletters to choose from, each curated by our Editors, you can decide what matters to you most.

You May Also Like