GM to build clean EV battery chargers for remote locations, clean power backup
A meme on social media shows a diesel generator powering a BEV charger, suggesting that battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) are just as “dirty” as regular gasoline cars. While the photo itself is a fake (the box is not a diesel generator) and most people get power from the grid, the point has been taken.
General Motors has announced that it will produce a variety of hydrogen-powered fuel cell generators, for backup or emergency power, BEV chargers, and other applications; they also plan hydrogen power for aerospace uses, locomotives, and heavy duty trucks using their “Hydrotec” fuel cells.
While clean hydrogen is still a small minority of the hydrogen produced—most comes from fossil fuels—many companies are working on creating more clean hydrogen, and it’s likely that progress will come quickly. One new method is using wind turbines’ “downtime,” when their power is not needed; rather than shutting them down, their power can be put to use isolating hydrogen.
GM’s Hydrotec generators provide from 60 to 600 kW of power, with low noise—and, of value to the military, small heat signatures. They could be used for backup or to replace gasoline and diesel generators at work sites and outdoor events, as well as for BEV charging. The Army has provided funding for a palletized version of the generators, given their low noise and thermal output.
The rapid charger version can fast-charge up to four vehicles at 150 kW, withi a target charge time of 20 minutes; it can charge over 100 BEVs before being refueled. GM plans to have 500 of these installed in the United States by the end of 2025.
Clark Westfield grew up fixing up and driving past-their-prime American cars, including various GM and Mopar V8s. He has ghostwritten auto news for the last few years, and lives in Farmingdale, New York.