Groupe Renault and Plug Power to form JV for hydrogen-fuel-cell light commercial vehicle market in Europe
Groupe Renault and Plug Power Inc. have signed a Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) to launch a 50-50 joint-venture based in France by the end of the first half of 2021, targeting more than 30% share of the fuel cell-powered light commercial vehicle (LCV) market in Europe.
Bringing complementary and competitive strengths together, this joint venture will build on Groupe Renault’s experience in new energies and strong position in electric light commercial vehicles and on Plug Power’s 20 years of experience in fuel cell technologies and hydrogen solutions.
A global leader in hydrogen solutions, Plug Power has deployed more than 40,000 fuel cell systems, designed and built 110 refueling stations that dispense more than 40 tons of hydrogen daily, and is a technology leader in green hydrogen solutions via electrolysis.
The JV, which will start commercializing fuel cell LCV’s in Europe starting in 2021 with pilot fleet deployments, intends to offer products and solutions designed around 3 key pillars:
R&D: Groupe Renault and Plug Power intend to establish an Innovation Center for the development of fuel cell technology and hydrogen fuel cell LCV vehicles based on existing and future Groupe Renault platforms. The initial focus will be on the heavy van segment utilizing the Trafic and Master vehicle platforms. This center will be unique in combining R&D efforts of fuel cell and vehicles with integrated engineering teams.
Manufacturing: the joint-venture will combine the vehicle manufacturing capabilities of Groupe Renault with the fuel cell and hydrogen system manufacturing knowledge of Plug Power, establishing a vertically integrated fuel cell stack and system manufacturing center in France for integration into LCV vehicle platforms. In addition, this manufacturing center will provide hydrogen refueling systems, a key part of the hydrogen ecosystem.
Sales: this partnership will create a hydrogen vehicle eco-system solution company that offers vehicles, hydrogen fueling stations, hydrogen fuel, and services to customers. This comprehensive solutions approach will accelerate adoption by commercial fleets.
Groupe Renault and Plug Power will provide the stand-alone joint-venture with the required resources to achieve its objectives. Finalization of this joint venture project is pending on the conditions normally applicable to this kind of operation, among which the presentation to employee representative bodies in accordance with applicable regulations and the potential clearance from the relevant competition authorities and should be completed by the end of the first half of 2021.