Last week, General Motors announced plans to offer electric vehicle (EV) technology beyond its own portfolio and automotive applications, with individual EV components.
GM officials say this approach will enable the automotive manufacturer to expand its reach to a larger, more diverse group of commercial customers – including ground support equipment (GSE) manufacturers, helping organizations meet a growing demand for zero-emissions technology.
“GM has an established strategy, network of integrators and co-development agreements to apply an extensive array of components and solutions to a broad range of customers and use cases,” said Travis Hester, GM vice president of electric vehicle growth operations. “As companies across many industries look to reduce their environmental impact, GM is uniquely positioned to serve as a leader not only through exciting new EVs across our brands, but through additional technology applications, and we look forward to bringing customers – existing and new – along with us on our zero-emissions journey.”
GM’s announcement noted GSE as one specific example of how EV component are intended to be utilized.
Working with Textron GSE, GM will provide EV components to electrify Textron GSE’s TUG line of baggage tractors, cargo tractors and belt-loaders. GM is providing technology to Powertrain Control Solutions (PCS), which can integrate the components into lithium-ion electric powertrains for TUG equipment, assisting in the electrification of GSE for use in airports globally.
“We are very excited to share this technology with the GSE industry. Our engineers have been working diligently to develop the integration pieces to engineer advanced electric propulsion system components into the equipment that drives GSE,” said Dan Boucher, president of PCS.
PCS recently debuted the adapted GM electric vehicle drivetrain at the International GSE Expo.
The unit is comprised of an electric motor and battery pack produced by GM. PCS engineers customized the motor that’s used in GM’s on-highway vehicles with a component used on all PCS transmissions designed for the GSE industry. According to Boucher, this creates a drop-in solution for customers converting from an internal combustion engine and transmission and allows customers to use the same driveshaft, shifter and parking brake.
“This technology provides a solid foundation that can be integrated and scaled to almost every piece of equipment on the ramp,” Boucher said.
General Motors estimates that ground support equipment applications are among the total addressable market for electrification components that could near $20 billion by 2030, as company officials note a growing number of industries have introduced their own emissions reduction goals.
“The automotive industry has been refining electric propulsion systems and battery technology for decades,” Boucher said. “I think the biggest benefit of this technology is the safety, efficiency and quality that automotive-developed, validated and proven technology brings to the industry.
“Also, the GSE industry can leverage the benefits of mass-produced components.”