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Is Hydrogen The Dark Horse Fuel That Will Power The Future?

2021 Ram 3500 HD Heavy Duty Class 3 pickup truck max towing torque
Photo via Ram

The first hydrogen-powered Ram Heavy Duty pickup truck was announced during Stellantis’ Dare Forward 2030 presentation earlier this week. The revelation was made alongside the first Jeep fully electric SUV due to launch in early 2023 and the new Ram 1500 BEV pickup truck arriving in 2024.

Details were scarce, but Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said the company is working on a “worldwide quest towards zero-emission freedom.” The electric Jeep and Ram products join upcoming electric products from former FCA-family brands Dodge, Chrysler, Alfa Romeo, FIAT, and Maserati. Along with other Stellantis brands, Citroen, Peugeot, and DS, the company seeks to become a leader in the climate change fight.

The hydrogen-powered Ram HD pickup is expected to debut later this decade, following the Ram 1500 BEV, which is expected to be called “Revolution“. The hydrogen-powered Ram HD will build off the progress Stellantis has already made in Europe with hydrogen vans. As part of his remarks, Tavares said sentiment on the vans has been positive, in large part thanks to the three-minute fast refueling. The hydrogen-powered vans also offer 400 kilometers of driving range.

2024 Ram 1500 EV electric pickup truck

In Europe, the company is expected to expand the hydrogen fuel cell technology to larger vans in 2024, before offering the technology to U.S consumers in 2025. Stellantis views fuel cell electric vehicles as “well suited to the needs of commercial vehicle customers requiring long-range, fast refueling and zero-emission without compromising payload capacity.” It’s likely the company will expand hydrogen fuel-cell technology to the hydrogen-powered Ram HD instead of pursuing an internal combustion engine that runs on liquified hydrogen. Although Ram HD engine supplier, Cummins, is already hard at work on the next generation of engines designed to run on a range of alternative fuel sources.

As of mid-2021, there were a total of 48 retail hydrogen stations in the United States. The Alternative Fuels Data Center indicates there are at least 60 additional stations in various stages of planning or construction currently. Some of these projects include adding hydrogen capabilities at existing gasoline stations. Most of the facilities are concentrated in California, with one in Hawaii and 14 planned for the Northeastern states. Look for these numbers to increase as more and more manufacturers look to explore the potential of hydrogen technology especially as lithium prices continue to spike in step with global demand.

Written by Michael Accardi

Michael refuses to sit still, he's held multiple hands-on automotive jobs throughout his career. Along with being an investigative writer and accomplished photographer, Michael works for several motorsports organizations.

He was part of the Ford GT program at Multimatic, oversaw a fleet of Audi TCR race cars, has ziptied Lamborghini Super Trofeo cars back together, been over the wall in the Rolex 24, and worked in the cut-throat world of IndyCar.

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