Ballard and Forsee Power to develop & commercialize integrated fuel cell & battery solutions for heavy-duty hydrogen mobility
Ballard Power Systems, a world leader in PEM fuel cells, and Forsee Power, a developer of smart battery systems for sustainable electromobility, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for a strategic partnership to develop fully integrated fuel cell and battery solutions, optimized for performance, cost and installation for the medium- and heavy-duty mobility markets of bus, truck, rail, marine, and off-road.
This strategic partnership is the beginning of a long-term collaboration involving the co-design, co-development, production, marketing, and sales of integrated fuel cell-battery solutions.
With complementary technologies, customers, verticals and markets, Ballard and Forsee Power expect their partnership to increase technological performance, optimize costs, extend service life, and reduce customer friction points by providing pre-integrated and optimized electric powertrain solutions.
Hydrogen electric powertrains are made up of a number of key components, including the fuel cell module, battery system, and Energy Management System (EMS). The fuel cell module, which is powered by hydrogen stored in tanks on the vehicle, produces electricity which is supplied to the electric powertrain. Batteries, charged by the electricity from the fuel cell, generate additional energy during sudden variations in load (acceleration or climbing a steep slope, for example).
The fuel cell and battery systems are thus complementary as the vehicle can move by means of the fuel cell, battery, or both, as needed by the vehicle duty cycle. To ensure optimization and high efficiency between these components a reliable and smart EMS is critical.
For the planned integrated solution, Ballard will supply the fuel cell system and related controls, and Forsee Power will supply the battery system and related battery management system, cooling system and high voltage DC/DC conversion system. The parties will jointly develop the EMS to optimize the hybrid fuel cell and battery system architecture.
As part of the strategic relationship, Ballard is committing to participate as a cornerstone lead investor (up to €40 million) in connection with the proposed IPO of Forsee. This commitment would allow Ballard to acquire a stake in Forsee Power upon its initial public offering on Euronext in Paris, France, with Ballard also having the right to appoint a board member to the Forsee Power board of directors.
Ballard, a global leader with more than 100 million kilometers traveled by more than 3,500 fuel cell electric buses and trucks, and Forsee Power, a global leader in batteries for light and heavy-duty electric vehicles, have each been supplying the same verticals, and some of the same customers, with fuel cell modules and battery systems since 2016. Optimization of the fuel cell-battery powertrain, resulting in improved reliability, durability, efficiency, and cost, is a logical next step for value creation.