New initiatives have been announced which are aimed at accelerating and promoting fuel cell technology for electric vehicles.
The first involves the planned series launch of fuel cell electric vehicles and the creation of a hydrogen refueling station network in Germany through the H₂ Mobility programme in which Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell, and Total are partners (see IPMD news from 7th June 2011).
In addition to the six partners, seven associated partners from the automotive industry (BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Intelligent Energy, Nissan, Toyota, and Volkswagen) as well as the National Organization of Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Technology (NOW) as interface to Germany’s federal government are now also involved.
A second initiative, announced January 2013, involves Japan’s Toyota Motor Corp. and Germany’s BMW Group which are to share their fuel cell technologies and jointly develop a fundamental fuel cell vehicle platform by 2020. This will include not only a fuel cell stack and system, but also a hydrogen tank, electric motor and supporting battery system.
As indicated above, Germany is expected to be an important early market for fuel cell electric vehicles, and Toyota can offer BMW years of experience and expertise in the development of fuel cell and battery powered drivetrains.
This comes as one of four binding agreements that follow a memorandum of understanding signed by the two companies in December 2011 and expanded in June 2012, which also includes joint development of a mid-sized sports vehicle, lightweight technologies, and a lithium-air battery with an energy density greatly exceeding those of current lithium-ion batteries.
Also announced in January 2013 was a collaboration between Daimler, Ford and Nissan, who have joined forces to develop a line of affordable fuel cell cars for sale starting in 2017.
“We believe we were never as close to reaching a breakthrough in fuel-cell cars as today thanks to this partnership,” stated Daimler R&D chief, Thomas Weber.
The partners are targeting production of at least 100,000 cars, Weber stated at a press conference in Germany. The manufacturers will invest equal amounts in the project to develop fuel-cell stacks and systems.
“We can proceed quicker as we can develop around the clock,” Weber said. The project will use the partners’ existing development centres in Detroit, Tokyo, Vancouver and Daimler’s hometown of Stuttgart, Germany.
Posted by: Paul Whittaker, Editor ipmd.net, [email protected]