Germany-based ElringKlinger and France-based Plastic Omnium, two automotive supplier leaders in their respective business areas, will create EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies, a joint venture dedicated to fuel cell stack development, production and commercialization.
EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies will offer its product portfolio to a broad range of customers including hydrogen systems integrators.
EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies will be owned 60% by ElringKlinger and 40% by Plastic Omnium. ElringKlinger will bring all of its assets related to fuel cells stacks, developed over more than 20 years. Assets include more than 150 employees, more than 150 patents, R&D and know-how, its fuel cell components business, and several high power density fuel cell stack platforms already marketed and manufactured at a facility located in Dettingen/Erms (Baden-Württemberg), where the joint venture will also be headquartered.
ElringKlinger PEMFC modules.
The annual production capacity of initially up to 10,000 units in the joint venture will be extended progressively according to the order book.
Plastic Omnium will invest €100 million in the new company to support the acceleration of innovation, strongly develop the commercial pipeline and increase production capacities. Plastic Omnium will also contribute to the development of the JV through its global customer portfolio, its worldwide presence and its technological expertise in hydrogen storage and systems.
The 2030 fuel cell market, backed by increasing government support, is currently estimated at annual production of between at least 2 and 3 million on-road vehicles. In particular, France and Germany recently announced investments of €7 billion and €9 billion respectively in hydrogen development.
The creation of EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies is a demonstration of French and German cooperation and will be an important milestone in the development of hydrogen technologies to accelerate the ecological transition and establishment of a dedicated industrial sector that is competitive at a global level.
By 2030, EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies aims to reach a market share of 10 to 15% in the fuel cell technology business, representing revenues between €700 million and €1 billion. This target includes a global industrial footprint and is based on today's ability of a serial production of fuel stacks according to automotive standards.
The two partners today also signed an agreement on the acquisition by Plastic Omnium of ElringKlinger Fuelcell Systems Austria GmbH (EKAT), an Austrian subsidiary of ElringKlinger specialized in integrated hydrogen systems, for an enterprise value of €15 million. This acquisition strengthens Plastic Omnium's expertise in energy management and control in hydrogen systems (“balance of plant”).