GM, Wabtec to develop Ultium battery, HYDROTEC fuel cell systems

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General Motors (GM) and Wabtec Corporation, global transport equipment and systems provider, will collaborate to develop and commercialise GM’s Ultium battery technology and HYDROTEC hydrogen fuel cell systems for Wabtec locomotives. 

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

“Our FLXdrive locomotive, the world’s first 100 per cent battery powered locomotive, has proven its potential to slash carbon emissions by up to 30 per cent when operating at 6 MWh. But we can’t stop there. 

“By working with GM on Ultium battery and HYDROTEC hydrogen fuel cell technologies, we can accelerate the rail industry’s path to decarbonisation and pathway to zero-emission locomotives by leveraging these two important propulsion technologies,” he said. 

Wabtec and GM signed a non-binding MOU to advance the two companies’ shared vision of a zero-emissions transport future. Wabtec will bring its expertise in energy management and systems optimisation, developing a solution for heavy haul locomotives using GM’s advanced technologies.  

“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,” GM president Mark Reuss said. 

“Wabtec’s decision to deploy GM’s Ultium battery and HYDROTEC hydrogen fuel cell systems further validates our advanced technology and demonstrates its versatility.” 

GM’s Ultium battery technology is anticipated to provide the flexibility, efficiency, power and reliability needed for rail. 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 a wide range of applications, including locomotives. HYDROTEC fuel cell systems will be assembled from globally sourced parts by Fuel Cell Systems Manufacturing, LLC in Brownstown, Michigan, the manufacturing joint venture between GM and Honda. 

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