Trucking could be rolling towards a hydrogen-powered future—if Gaussin has anything to say about it, that is. The French engineering firm has just unveiled a new “skateboard” platform for freight trucks that promises sustainable cruising sans any harmful emissions.
The versatile system comes in two different versions that are both geared toward eco-friendly freight transportation. Designed for long-haul trucking, the hydrogen-powered setup offers a range of nearly 500 miles and a refueling time of less than 20 minutes. Conversely, the all-electric configuration is intended for shorter stints and promises a range of around 180 miles per charge plus a battery swap that takes just three minutes.
Designed for both traditional manufacturers and new entrants, the rolling, modular system can be fitted to Class 8 tractor and straight trucks that range from 18 tons all the way up to 44 tons. It features an ultra-lightweight chassis and open interface that will lend itself to autonomous driving technology (whenever that actually becomes a reality). It’s also available in various lengths, heights and axle configurations to meet the different needs of the market.
“With this hydrogen and electric skateboard, a world premiere, Gaussin reaffirms its pioneering role in the ecological transition and the development of low-carbon mobility solutions,” CEO Christophe Gaussin said in a statement.
Gaussin has also been tapped by ECT, a French company that specializes in the management of construction waste, to develop three hydrogen-powered trucks. The trio of lorries will assist in the upcycling of excavated soil from urban worksites, with each targeting different tasks. A dozen or so 10×4, 70-ton tipper vehicles with 10 hours of autonomy will schlep soil and target on-site transport. So too will the purported self-driving 10×4 tipper without a cabin that can carry an additional 25 percent payload. The several 4×2, 44-ton tractors, meanwhile, will offer a range of roughly 300 miles and will be used for road transport to and from the site. The first trucks are expected to roll out in 2022.
“This first contract for Gaussin’s modular hydrogen and electric ‘skateboard’ and its version for public works carriers and tractors comes less than a month after the official presentation of this revolutionary vehicle,” adds Gaussin. “We have no doubt that many others will follow.” We’ll definitely be watching.
Check out more photos of hydrogen-powered ECT trucks below: