Daimler and Volvo join forces on hydrogen-powered fuel cells
The two heavy-truck companies want to become a fuel-cell leader and plan to start ramping up production in Europe in 2025
Frankfurt — Global heavy-truck rivals Daimler and Volvo Group have kicked off a joint venture for hydrogen-powered fuel cell stacks, seeking to advance a technology that’s been in development for decades but has suffered from high costs and patchy infrastructure.
The two companies want to become a fuel-cell leader and plan to start ramping up production in Europe in 2025, they said on Thursday at the launch of their Cellcentric venture announced a year ago.
“Hydrogen-powered fuel-cell electric trucks will be key for enabling carbon dioxide-neutral transportation in the future,” Daimler truck chief Martin Daum said in a statement. “Battery-electric trucks alone will not make this possible.”
Road haulage is still dominated by diesel trucks, but stricter regulation is forcing manufacturers to accelerate a shift towards cleaner engines. That’s boosted efforts by incumbents and Tesla to work on battery-electric trucks, which many companies forecast to be rolled out faster and on a much broader scale than fuel-cell stacks.
The industry’s two largest manufacturers joining forces on fuel cells will raise the bar for peers such as Paccar or Volkswagen’s Traton. Parts giant Robert Bosch co-operated with start-up Nikola Motor and forged a fuel-cell joint venture with Qingling Motors in China.
When Daimler and Volvo announced the 50-50 joint venture a year ago, they signaled a plan to explore options beyond the use on highways, such as stationary power generation.
So far, the lack of infrastructure remains a major roadblock. Daimler, Volvo and other European peers have called for the creation of 300, high-performance hydrogen refueling stations for heavy-duty vehicles by 2025.
Bloomberg News. For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
Would you like to comment on this article or view other readers' comments?
Register (it’s quick and free) or sign in now.
Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.