The Gaussin skateboard is envisioned for class 8 tractor or straight trucks (from 18t to 44t) that will be 100% battery-electric or hydrogen fuel cell. A key partner in the project appears to be Magna.
"The skateboard contains thekey components and systems to produce next-generation road trucks, including an ultra-light chassis developed by Magna that weighs 400 kg less than other chassis on the market, as well as hydrogen tanks, fuel cells, electric motors, drives, axles and suspensions."
BEVs are expected to get a range of up to 400 km (250 miles) plus a 3-minute battery swap option, while in the case of FCVs it has potential for 800 km (500 miles) with 20-minute refueling.
As there will be multiple configurations (Tractor and Rigid 4x2, Truck and Rigid 6x2 / 6x4), Gaussin should be able to offer vehicles for many applications.
"Global road truck players will be able to access these platforms as early as 2021 in order to integrate their own cabs, software and equipment configurations–making the skateboard the core truck technology for a variety of applications such as transporting semi-trailers, boxes, tippers, tanks or drums with capacities ranging from 18 to 44 tons."
Gaussin and Microvast intend to start building the first prototypes in mid-2021.
Let's take a look at some specs:
The deal with Microvast (founded in 2006 in Texas, and with some connections in China) is for 1.5 GWh over the next five years and up to 29 GWh until 2031.
If we assume 400 kWh battery packs, 1.5 GWh would be an equivalent of 3,750 vehicles, which sounds ambitious.
According to Microvast, the company can supply battery systems with a variety of cell chemistries.
"Gaussin and Microvast expect to start building the first prototypes in both full electric and hydrogen version in mid 2021 to test the vehicle performance. Microvast will first supply Gaussin with its off-the-shelf MV-C battery pack and then offer an upgrade possibility through MV-I battery pack with an energy density of more than 180 Wh/kg."
A separate branch is the plan to develop 70t 10x4 vehicles with an autonomy of 10 hours, top speed of 40 km/h and power of 420 kW.