The secret is out: Volkswagen is committed to fuel cell vehicle technology.
The German carmaker, which earlier this week outlined its plans to achieve a 95g/km CO2 fleet in Europe by 2020 (see article), has now signed an agreement with Ballard Power Systems which will advance the development of fuel cells to be used in Volkswagen’s demonstration cars within its automotive research programme.
It’s a long term commitment from Volkswagen too – set to last four years with the option for a two-year extension, and with a value ranging from C$60-$100million.
Ballard will design and manufacture fuel cells to be used in the Volkswagen HyMotion demonstration cars (logo, pictured) with its engineers to lead the way in critical areas of fuel cell product design such as plate and stack components and membrane electrode assembly.
According to John Sheridan, the president and CEO of Ballard, the research agreement represents a major step forward for the company both financially and strategically.
“The announcement… represents a tremendous ramp-up in our Engineering Services business following the recent expiration of the five year automotive non-compete agreement,” he said.
“Ballard’s focus with Volkswagen in this new automotive fuel cell research program will parallel our continuing work in commercial fuel cell markets for backup power and material handling—enhancing product durability and performance while radically reducing product costs.”
Ballard was originally founded in 1979 to conduct research into high energy lithium-ion batteries but has recently made significant advancements with fuel cell products and has achieved product cost reductions in the region of 60 per cent.
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