Bosch and PowerCell to mass produce automotive fuel cells
May 1, 2019
Robert Bosch GmbH has reported it is entering the market for automotive fuel cells following a collaboration with fuel cell stack manufacturer PowerCell Sweden AB. Under this agreement, the two partners will work jointly to make the polymer-electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell ready for production. Bosch will then manufacture this technology under license for the global automotive market.
At the core of the fuel cell is the stack, which converts hydrogen into electrical energy. Currently, the stack accounts for nearly two-thirds of the total cost of a fuel cell system and Bosch will work with PowerCell to further improve the manufacturing of these stacks. Bosch believes the best opportunities for broad adoption of fuel cell technology are in the commercial vehicle market.
The EU’s fleet requirements for trucks calls for a reduction of CO2 emissions by 15% on average by 2025, and 30% by 2030. Bosch’s view is that this target can only be reached by electrifying more and more of the powertrain. The fuel cell can play a decisive role here, and once they have become established in trucks, Bosch’s fuel cell powertrains will increasingly find their way into passenger cars. But for this to happen, the cost of fuel cell systems needs to be progressively reduced.
The stack will complement the Bosch portfolio of fuel cell components, and is to be launched in 2022 at the latest. “In the fuel cell domain, Bosch already has a strong hand, and the alliance with PowerCell makes it even stronger. Commercialising technology is one of our strengths. We are now going to take on this task with determination and develop this market,” stated Dr Stefan Hartung, member of the Bosch board of management and chairman of the Mobility Solutions business sector.
Over the long term, the mobile fuel cell business is potentially worth billions of euros for Bosch. It estimates that as much as 20% of all electric vehicles worldwide will be powered by fuel cells by 2030. “With the combined weight of its clout and expertise, Bosch will provide our fuel cell technology with the chance to gain a foothold in the automotive market. We couldn’t imagine a better partner than Bosch for this,” added Per Wassén, PowerCell CEO.