Electric truck with H2 range extender completes tests

In Germany, the Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components (PEM) at RWTH Aachen University has reported the first successful tests of its electric truck with fuel cell range extender. The prototype is the result of the "SeLv" research project focussed on Heavy-duty trucks for emission-free logistics.


At the Aldenhoven Testing Center in North Rhine-Westphalia, between Aachen and Cologne, researchers say their prototype battery electric truck with a hydrogen fuel cell range extender has now passed various challenges on driving dynamics surfaces, a braking track, an oval track and an incline hill in tests covering around 500 kilometres.

The vehicle is being developed as part of the “SeLv” research project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Digital and Transport with around 16.9 million euros. The acronym stands for “Heavy-duty trucks for zero-emission logistics in heavy-duty transport using electrification modules and an economical production system”.

The RWTH Aachen University project, which will run until the end of 2024, focuses on the development of an electric powertrain with a fuel cell “range extender” for commercial vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 41 tons. The modular powertrain should be as suitable for retrofit solutions as it is for new vehicles.

In October 2022, the RWTH Chair presented a prototype that was still purely battery-electric, and that the next phase would involve the fuel cell range extender that has now completed its first test drives. The project is to reach industrialisation with the help of RWTH University’s spin-off Moion GmbH, which will act as a provider of truck conversions and the necessary powertrain kit in the future. No new status has been announced in this regard.

“The tests under real conditions have shown that the combination of battery-electric drivetrain and fuel cell-hydrogen system works for heavy-duty trucks,” says PEM Director Professor Achim Kampker. “After checking the basic functions, we successfully tested the hydrogen system as well as the energy and thermal management.”



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