Daimler, Renault-Nissan Alliance Ford to develop common fuel cell system; targeting vehicles in 2017
Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., have signed a three-way agreement for the joint development of a common fuel cell system to speed up availability of zero-emission technology and significantly reduce investment costs.
The goal of the collaboration is to develop jointly a common fuel cell electric vehicle system while reducing investment costs associated with the engineering of the technology. Each company will invest equally towards the project. The strategy to maximize design commonality, leverage volume and derive efficiencies through economies of scale will help to launch the world’s first affordable, mass-market FCEVs as early as 2017. (Daimler had earlier been targeting 2015 for launch.)
Together, Daimler, Ford and Nissan have more than 60 years of cumulative experience developing FCEVs. Their FCEVs have logged more than 10 million km (6.2 million miles) in test drives around the world in customers’ hands and as part of demonstration projects in diverse conditions. The partners plan to develop a common fuel cell stack and fuel cell system that can be used by each company in the launch of highly differentiated, separately branded FCEVs.
The collaboration sends a signal to suppliers, policymakers and the industry to encourage further development of hydrogen refueling stations and other infrastructure necessary to allow the vehicles to be mass-marketed, the partners said.
The companies consider FCEVs as complementary to today’s battery-electric vehicles.
Engineering work on both the fuel cell stack and the fuel cell system will be done jointly by the three companies at several locations around the world. The partners are also studying the joint development of other FCEV components to generate even further synergies.
The collaboration across three continents and three companies will help define global specifications and component standards, an important prerequisite for achieving higher economies of scale, the companies said.
Working together will significantly help speed this technology to market at a more affordable cost to our customers. We will all benefit from this relationship as the resulting solution will be better than any one company working alone.—Raj Nair, group vice president, Global Product Development, Ford Motor Company
Last week, BMW Group and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) also signed binding agreements aimed at long-term collaboration between the two companies for the joint development of a hydrogen fuel cell system as well as joint development of architecture and components for a sports vehicle; and joint research and development of lightweight technologies. (Earlier post.)