Daimler and Volvo join forces on fuel cell development

21 April 2020

Daimler Truck and Volvo are planning to form a joint venture (JV) to produce hydrogen fuel cell systems for long haul vehicles.

The firms said the partnership would help to decrease development costs and speed up the introduction of fuel cell systems to the market.

The JV will focus on the development and production of carbon-neutral fuel cell systems that convert hydrogen into electricity. Both firms aim to offer heavy-duty vehicles with fuel cells for demanding long-haul applications in the second half of the decade. 

Daimler will consolidate all its current fuel cell activities in the JV, including the operations of Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell, which has longstanding experience in the development of fuel cells and hydrogen storage systems for vehicles. 

The firms added cooperation has become “necessary” in order to meet the Green Deal objectives with the current economic downturn. 

Volvo and Daimler Truck will be 50/50 partners in the joint venture, which will operate as an independent and autonomous entity, and the firms will continue to be competitors in all other areas of business. A final agreement is expected by Q3 and closing before year-end 2020.

Announcing the JV, Daimler Truck chairman Martin Daum said: “For trucks to cope with heavy loads and long distances, fuel cells are one important answer and a technology where Daimler has built up significant expertise through its Mercedes-Benz fuel cell unit over the last two decades,” he said.

Martin Lundstedt, Volvo Group CEO said using hydrogen as a carrier of green electricity to power electric trucks in long-haul operations was an important part of the puzzle of delivering a carbon-neutral world, and a complement to battery electric vehicles and renewable fuels. 

“Combining the Volvo Group and Daimler’s experience in this area to accelerate the rate of development is good both for our customers and for society as a whole. 

“By forming this joint venture, we are clearly showing that we believe in hydrogen fuel cells for commercial vehicles. But for this vision to become reality, other companies and institutions also need to support and contribute to this development, not least in order to establish the fuel infrastructure needed,” he said.

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