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GM plans to use hydrogen to recharge electric vehicles

Elon, are you listening? Hydrogen-powered generators will replace gasoline- and diesel-fueled ones to give EVs a boost

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General Motors has decided to build a series of generators that use hydrogen-powered fuel cells to produce mobile sources of electricity. Basically, The General is building its Hydrotec fuel cells into mobile generators and temporary EV chargers.

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Indeed, amongst the many uses cited — outdoor concerts and sporting events being primary — the Hydratec systems could also provide EV charging where no permanent stations yet exist, or where the current facilities are being overwhelmed by demand. “Hydrotec power generators can quickly be deployed for disaster relief,” said Charlie Freese, executive director of GM’s Hydrotec division, “or it can provide backup for the electrical grid in areas that are experiencing rolling blackouts.”

Various power outputs are available. Each fuel-cell power cube puts out between 60 kilowatts and 600 kW. The Mobile Power Generators uses but one cube; while the Empower quick charger uses eight.

Along with the mobile chargers, GM is also experimenting with fuel cell technology in the trucking, rail transportation, and even aerospace segments, mainly because, as Driving has pointed out so frequently, hydrogen’s energy density is vastly superior to batteries and, as sparse as the hydrogen refueling network is, it’s still more mobile than anything battery-powered.

Currently, the primary customers are the military and national energy suppliers, but wouldn’t it be just precious if one day CAA was recharging stranded Teslas with Canadian Tire $399 fuel-cell generators? Are you listening, Elon?