GM to supply battery and hydrogen fuel cell system for Wabtec freight locomotives

GM propulsion technologies will accelerate the rail industry’s path to decarbonisation and pathway to zero-emission locomotives.

General Motors (GM) and Wabtec Corporation plan to develop and commercialise GM’s Ultium battery technology and Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell systems for Wabtec locomotives.

Under the nonbinding MoU, Wabtec will provide expertise in energy management and systems optimisation to develop a solution for heavy haul locomotives to take full advantage of GM’s advanced technologies.

Ultium Cells LLC, GM’s joint venture with LG Energy Solution, is currently constructing battery cell plants in Ohio and Tennessee. GM’s Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell power cubes are compact and easy to package and can be used in many applications, including locomotives. The fuel cell system will be assembled from globally sourced parts by Fuel Cell Systems Manufacturing, LLC in Brownstown, Michigan, the manufacturing joint venture between General Motors and Honda.

Rafael Santana, CEO and president of Wabtec, said, “The rail industry is on the cusp of a sustainable transformation with the introduction of batteries and hydrogen to power locomotive fleets.”

He further added, “Our FLXdrive locomotive, the world’s first 100% battery-powered locomotive, has proven its potential to slash carbon emissions by up to 30% when operating at 6 MWh.”

Mark Reuss, GM president, said, “Rail networks are critical to transportation and to GM’s ability to serve our customers across North America, and Wabtec’s bold plan to de-carbonise heavy haul and other locomotive applications helps advance our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.”

Ethan Mandel

Ethan is the special correspondent for Europe covering the hydrogen industry for H2 Bulletin. Please click on the email icon to contact me via email or follow me on social media. I am reachable on Phone: +44 (0) 208 123 7812
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