|Ballard’s 100 kW integrated electric drive system.|
Ballard Power Systems is selling its electric drive (E-Drive) operations—based in Dearborn, Michigan—to Siemens VDO Automotive Corporation for approximately $4 million.
Ballard E-Drive systems range in power ratings from 17 kW to 250 kW, covering a wide array of possible applications. Ballard provided electric drive systems for Ballard fuel cell-powered prototypes, including DaimlerChrysler’s Necar 4, Necar 4A, and Necar 5, as well as Ford Motor Company’s P2000, TH!NK FC5 and TH!NK FCV.
Ballard supplied electric drives to Ford for use in the battery-powered Ford Ranger pickup trucks, introduced in 1998, as well as Ford’s battery-powered TH!NK city electric vehicle. Ballard has also provided electric drive systems for the latest generation of Ballard fuel cell demonstration transit buses, including electric drive systems for 30 buses being built for the European Fuel Cell Bus Project.
As a result of the transaction, Ballard expects to incur a non-cash write-down of goodwill in the fourth quarter of 2006 of approximately US$105 million. With the sale, Ballard will reduce operating cash consumption by approximately US$10 million per year. The transaction is expected to close in January 2007, subject to certain closing conditions.
The hybrid development team at Siemens VDO recently built a full hybrid vehicle as a demonstration of its Hybrid Tool Box—a portfolio of hybrid components including high- and low-voltage motor inverters, electric motors and vehicle control algorithms and integration capabilities. (Earlier post.)
Ballard indicated in October that it was evaluating strategic options with respect to these operations, including divesting or restructuring to improve financial performance. The electric drive operations are not core to Ballard’s fuel cell stack strategy.