How Ram is likely to start using hydrogen in its trucks

As reported earlier today, Stellantis has finally provided a small amount of information on the Ram heavy duty plan for hydrogen power.

hydrogen Ram truck (heavy duty)

Stellantis’ first vehicles to get hydrogen will be the midsized European commercial vans (Jumpy, Expert, and Vivaro; the Scudo should also be in the list) later this year, with larger European vehicles still to come. They expect to make over 100,000 hydrogen-powered delivery vans per year by 2030.

Development in North America is to follow shortly after that, including a fuel-cell Ram 5500. Hydrogen storage for the vans is made by Faurecia, a global parts maker, using carbon fiber wrapped tanks. The fuel cells are made by Symbio. This may or may not be the case for the Ram, which will be a fuel cell design rather than a Cummins internal combustion hydrogen engine. Symbio is a joint venture of Forvia, Michelin, and Stellantis; its “first gigafactory” in France is Europe’s largest integrated fuel cell factory.

David S. of Allpar suggested that these would be the makers, at least at first, of the fuel cell part of the Ram chassis cabs using hydrogen. The drive units are likely to be the same as Stellantis’ other electrical drive units; the fuel cells just generate electricity on-board, with the ability to get a five-minute refill.

midsize vans

Ram’s chassis cabs, like its Hemi V8 and Hurricane straight-six engines, are made in Saltillo, Mexico.

Cummins may still be tapped for this project given their fuel cell expertise, but chances are they aren’t being included since Stellantis already has partners and joint ventures. Depending on the projected size of the demand, which may partly depend on the price and availability of hydrogen as more production sites open up, Faurecia and Symbio could choose to build a plant in North America; or Stellantis could tap another supplier.

Peugeot has engineered its electric vans to be built with either hydrogen or battery power for the electric motors. The Ram trucks could be developed the same way, but battery power would be tricky for high capacity chassis cabs.

Hydrogen is expensive, but pilot programs which use surplus renewable energy to power electrolysis is expected to slash the cost over time. Stellantis’ vans refuel in three minutes and provide a range of 248 miles.

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