KTM and H2X to develop chassis for light duty EVs
Australian fuel cell vehicle developer H2X collaborates with KTM Technologies, part of Austrian motorcycle manufacturer KTM, to develop a lightweight, low-cost vehicle chassis. The “origami chassis” will form the basis for a range of light trucks, vans and pickup trucks.
H2X does not hold back in its statement: in addition to being lightweight and inexpensive, the yet-to-developed chassis is also described as “revolutionary” and “innovative.” The further designation as “origami chassis” comes from the sheet metal folding and welding technologies employed.
Origami technology is said to enable “very efficient and sustainable manufacturing” – in addition to comparably low capital costs for tooling, which is typically a cost driver in typical sheet metal forming process. Another advantage, according to H2X, is that such a chassis is said to be easier to manufacture and maintain. It is also more flexible for variants than a conventional chassis.
KTM Technologies will explore conceptual solutions for the origami chassis and evaluate which platform is best suited for H2X’s “groundbreaking fleet of vehicles.” KTM Technologies is an innovation hub within Pierer Mobility Group, KTM’s parent company. The company also specialises in lightweight construction and mobility concepts and products. As a result, the Austrians will not only analyse the chassis and cabin structure layout and optimise it using FEM simulations but also develop lightweight and sustainable materials for the exterior cladding of the chassis.
“The approach of KTM Technologies is to implement the most advanced techniques available and foreseeable, and combine it with H2X’s innovative approach with the origami chassis,” says Peter Martin, CEO of KTM Technologies. “Related to their Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid approach, we see a great opportunity coming in sustainable mobility that we are very excited to play a part in.”
“Our partnership with KTM Technologies is a major milestone in establishing ourselves as a global premium hydrogen vehicle manufacturer,” said H2X’s CEO, Brendan Norman. “By leveraging the resources of a company with unparalleled capabilities such as KTM, we are not only securing our own future but the development of an internationally competitive industry based in Australia.”
H2X had announced in 2020 that it would offer a range of locally produced fuel cell vehicles in Australia. Initially, an H2 SUV was revealed, but it has since become quiet again. Commercial vehicles, which were part of the plans from the beginning, are now apparently being pushed forward. In April 2022, for example, H2X had signed a memorandum of understanding with the Swedish city of Trelleborg administration on a joint hydrogen vehicle initiative. In cooperation with the local energy company Trelleborgs Energi, they will develop a hydrogen high-floor bus and a garbage truck.
Collaboration beyond the Origami chassis is also planned with KTM: “Further on from this development, KTM Technologies and H2X are working together on a number of other projects including an exciting Motorsport Venture around Hydrogen which will be announced in the coming months,” reads the statement.