Komatsu mining truck to bank on GM fuel cells worth two Megawatts

General Motors and construction machinery manufacturer Komatsu are developing a fuel cell mining truck in the "ultra-class haul". The Japanese company will utilise GM's 'Hydrotec Power Cubes' to electrify the 930E and has become the second manufacturer to build on GM fuel cells.

Image: Komatsu

Komatsu’s 930E electric dump truck will serve as a base vehicle for the development, which will get underway at the company’s Arizona Proving Grounds (AZPG) facility. GM and its new partner expect to see a prototype by mid-decade.

The US carmaker developed the fuel cell system specifically for commercial vehicles and applied a compact design and yet scalable platform for easy installation. Each Power Cube has an output of 77 kW based on 300 fuel cells but can be stacked depending on a vehicle’s power requirement.

In Komatsu’s case, the vehicle has “extreme hauling requirements” since the 930E truck has a nominal payload of 320 tons. The development brief, therefore targets over two megawatts of power cubes.

Komatsu adds that these vehicles typically operate at a single mine throughout their life, which would simplify setting up an effective hydrogen refuelling infrastructure to service the vehicle fleet.

It is not Komatsu’s first look into fuel cell electrification. The company reportedly forged an alliance with Cummins in the USA last year. Several of its customers from the mining industry also founded the Komatsu Greenhouse Gas Alliance in 2021 to promote electrification in this sector through joint development work.

“Finding new ways to power the equipment our customers need to do the vital work of mining and construction is a critical part of our commitment to supporting a more sustainable future,” said Dan Funcannon, VP of North America engineering and development for Komatsu when commenting on today’s news.

“At GM, we believe fuel cells can play an integral role in a zero-emissions future, helping to electrify heavier-duty applications beyond passenger vehicles,” added Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s Global Hydrotec business. 

As reported, the US commercial vehicle manufacturer Autocar Industries also intends to develop a whole vehicle line with GM Hydrotec systems.,


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