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General Motors, Wabtec sign deal to electrify locomotives

The logo for General Motors appears on a board on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on  November 27, 2018. GM said it has an agreement with Wabtec to provide batteries to power locomotives. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI
The logo for General Motors appears on a board on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on  November 27, 2018. GM said it has an agreement with Wabtec to provide batteries to power locomotives. File photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

June 15 (UPI) -- General Motors and rail transit company Wabtec Corp. announced Tuesday a collaboration to use GM's battery technology and fuel cell systems in Wabtec locomotives.

The car giant's Ultium battery technology and hydrogen fuel cell system would allow Wabtec to run its locomotives all with battery power.

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"Rail networks are critical to transportation and to GM's ability to serve our customers across North America, and Wabtec's bold plan to de-carbonize heavy haul and other locomotive applications helps advance our vision of a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion," Mark Reuss, GM's president, said in a statement.

GM's work on the Ultium battery technology is part of its joint venture with LG Energy Solution, which is currently constructing the battery cell plants at its plants in Ohio and Tennessee. The car company's Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell power cubes are being sourced parts by Fuel Cell Systems Manufacturing LLC in Brownstown, Mich., as a joint venture between GM and Honda.

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"The rail industry is on the cusp of a sustainable transformation with the introduction of batteries and hydrogen to power locomotive fleets," Rafael Santana, CEO and president of Wabtec, said in a statement. "By working with GM on Ultium battery and Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell technologies, we can accelerate the rail industry's path to decarbonization and pathway to zero-emission locomotives by leveraging these two important propulsion technologies."

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Wabtec said it will bring its expertise in energy management and systems optimization to develop a solution for heavy haul locomotives that takes advantage of GM's advanced technologies.

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