Dakar Rally To See Its First Hydrogen Truck Entry By Gaussin In Partnership With Aramco

The Gaussin hydrogen truck entry for the Dakar Rally Dakar 2022 will be taking place in Saudi Arabia January 2-14 with an introductory short rally on day one followed by 12 grueling long-distance races with a total distance close to 5,000 mi. This year there might be good reason to watch the rally as there will be a hydrogen truck entry by Gaussin with sponsorship by Aramco.

Gaussin, a French manufacturer of zero emissions vehicles for the transport and logistics sector, has prepared a unique entry into the Dakar race with its class 8 hydrogen truck designed by Pininfarina. Gaussin’s H2 Racing Truck will run as an experimental new energy vehicle and the only truck in the alternative energy category for the Dakar. Gaussin is a 140-year-old public company led by Christophe Gaussin, a fifth-generation member of the family that originally founded the company. The company has evolved from producing steel for construction, to containers and now to manufacturing heavy duty vehicles.

In 2012, the company switched to battery electric vehicles becoming the largest provider of yard hustlers for the logistics segment in Europe. And as the technology has matured, Gaussin’s latest technology innovations are focused on integrating hydrogen into its vehicle designs and developing a flexible power architecture that can accommodate both electric and hydrogen powered applications. This, in turn, will better meet customer needs for emissions-free transport. Announced in April 2021, this design approach, developed in partnership with Magna International, resulted in an ultra-light modular skateboard chassis enveloped around the integrated hydrogen and electric powertrain.

“We are always exploring new ideas and technologies that will allow us to further enhance our platform offerings across new segments, such as the Road Truck Skateboard for the next generation road trucks and tractors for the on-road segment,” said Gary Patterson, Executive Vice President for Gaussin North America.

Gaussin considers itself an enabler, trailblazer, and innovator in clean transportation and the best way to show this energy and resolve would be to bring hydrogen technology to the market with a bang. Well, building and entering a hydrogen truck for Dakar rally will do that. Gaussin believes that the time to showcase heavy duty hydrogen is already here. The idea to build a competition truck for Dakar was first formulated in January 2021 as the company was familiar with the races through prior sponsorships. A team of talented Gaussin engineers prepared the truck in the short span of a year. The development of the truck was accelerated through adoption of the competition modified skateboard chassis developed in parallel. To compete among the “big boys” at Dakar, H2 Racing Truck incorporates an impressive powertrain driven by two e-motors of 300 kW each, 380 kW of fuel cells in combination with 82 kWh of batteries. All this power is tamed by the competition governed speed of 140 km/h or 87 mi/h, which is plenty in sandy dunes.

(David Blekhman, Forbes)

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