PLANT

Three automakers cooperate on hydrogen fuel cell

Collaboration across three continents will help define global specifications and component standards.


YOKOHAMA, Japan — Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co. and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., have signed a three-way agreement to accelerate the commercialization of fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technology by developing a common hydrogen fuel cell.

The companies expect the collaboration across three continents and three companies will help define global specifications and component standards, plus reduce their investment costs.

According to the terms of the agreement, each company will invest equally towards the project. Their strategy is to focus on a common design, leverage volume and capitalize on efficiencies through economies of scale to come up with what they describe as the world’s first affordable, mass-market FCEVs.

The battery, which would use hydrogen and oxygen to generate power but emit only water while in operation, could be available as early as 2017.

The automakers intend to develop a common fuel cell stack and system that each company can use in separately branded vehicles that will generate no CO2 emissions during driving.

“Working together will significantly help speed this technology to market at a more affordable cost to our customers,” said Raj Nair, group vice-president of global product development with Ford Motor Co. “We will all benefit from this relationship as the resulting solution will be better than any one company working alone.”

The companies said this collaboration sends a clear signal to suppliers, policymakers and the industry to encourage further development of hydrogen refuelling stations and other infrastructure necessary to allow the vehicles to be mass-marketed.