Even though GAUSSIN has become truly popular after the recent participation in the Dakar Rally 2022, the French manufacturer has been working on clean transport solutions for ten years now. The company launched the first on-road skateboard in April 2021 and is now collaborating with Pininfarina on hydrogen and electric trucks. We’ve made some questions to Jean-Claude Bailly, Executive Vice President – Managing Director Truck & Bus Division at GAUSSIN Group.
GAUSSIN. «A great success the participation to the Dakar»
Mr Bailly, let’s start from one of the latest news you’ve shared, GAUSSIN approaching a challenging market like the Chinese one? What’s the company’s strategy for China? Will GAUSSIN build production sites for the whole vehicles there?
«GAUSSIN’s strategy in terms of international development is clearly defined and the same all over the world. Our Business model is based on a local partner acquiring a license from Gaussin to access our advanced technology, assemble, distribute and maintain part or entire range of GAUSSIN solutions on a defined territory. We want to develop the same approach in China with our partners».
A hydrogen truck is also an electric truck. So, our approach is that this dual energy will be the base of most of the applications with different dimensioning of the battery power and fuel cell powerJean-Claude Bailly, Executive Vice President – Managing Director Truck & Bus Division, GAUSSIN
GAUSSIN’s participation in the Dakar 2022 was something really big. How did the hydrogen race truck behave over there? What were the main challenges? And how such experience can be useful for the engineering of current and future vehicles?
«This first participation to the Dakar 2022 with our H2 Racing Truck was a great success. It was a world premier and a huge challenge to develop and manufacture the most powerful hydrogen truck in the world and bring it to the rally in less than one year. We managed to achieve this goal thanks to the 10 years of experience in electric and hydrogen solutions of Gaussin’s teams and the technologies already developed. We managed to complete all the stages in very tough conditions and were the first in our category of New energies to demonstrate the feasibility of running this challenging race with a zero-emission racing. This was a great success and we have strong interest from numerous potential partners. Following this Dakar 2022, we have launched the GAUSSIN H2 World Tour with the truck and part of our range of products to show our ability to deliver new clean and performant solutions to our customers for port, airport, logistic centers and smart cities applications».
Yard tractors: where it all began
Talking about terminal tractors, yard tractors or airport vehicles, is GAUSSIN developing the whole product in-house, from the vehicle structure up to powertrain components?
«GAUSSIN develops, designs and produces the entire range of products. The development is done by the engineering team in-house in all aspects: mechanical, powertrain, driveline, electricity and electronics, ECU, autonomous driving, etc. We have a modular approach for each of our platforms to be able to use different technologies for batteries and fuel cells to answer to the customer needs in the best way possible».
When and why did the company decide to invest in the development of full-electric and hydrogen-powered on road skateboards and then trucks?
«Regarding off-road products, our CEO Christophe Gaussin decided to fully focus on clean solutions in 2012 and banned completely the combustion engines. Since then, Gaussin decided to invest all the engineering power to develop electric and hydrogen solutions for clean mobility. Today, this strategy allows Gaussin to have 10 years of experience in zero emission mobility solutions with mature products and to benefit immediately from growing markets.
Thanks to this experience, and also with a strong demand for zero emission hub-to-hub transport from our customers, we decided to launch a modular electric and hydrogen skateboard in 2020».
The collaboration with Pininfarina
Speaking of road trucks, what’s the current roadmap for their development, launch and production? And how’s the partnership with Italian Pininfarina going?
«The first skateboard was launched in April 2021. GAUSSIN is now working on developing the first pre-series of the skateboard and trucks. Pininfarina has designed the full range of our cabin that is directly connected to our skateboard to develop the Gaussin range of H2 and electric trucks».
What will be the range of road trucks GAUSSIN will have in its portfolio? Will they be only FCEVs or also BEVs?
«The skateboard allows us to cover 90% of the truck market from tractors to straight trucks and all solutions will be available in BEV and FCEV».
Our CEO Christophe Gaussin decided to fully focus on clean solutions in 2012 and banned completely the combustion engines. Since then, Gaussin decided to invest all the engineering power to develop electric and hydrogen solutions for clean mobilityJean-Claude Bailly, Executive Vice President – Managing Director Truck & Bus Division, GAUSSIN
«Battery swapping is applicable to road trucks»
What’s your opinion on battery swapping? Can you see a future for this technology in the truck sector? For which kind of trucks (light, distribution, long-haul…)?
«Battery swapping has been developed and patented by GAUSSIN for our applications in ports, logistic centers and airports. This solution gives the possibility to work 24/7 which brings a high added value for customers operations.
This is of course applicable for on road trucks and mainly for distribution and regional haul segment. Regarding long haul applications, we are convinced that hydrogen is the most adapted solution».
There’s so much talking recently about full electric vs hydrogen as for long-haul trucks. What’s your point of view? Is it possible that these technologies may coexist in the future of transportation?
«First of all, a hydrogen truck is also an electric truck. So, our approach is that this dual energy will be the base of most of the applications with different dimensioning of the battery power and fuel cell power».