The Volvo Group, headquartered in Gothenburg, Sweden, and Daimler Truck AG, Stuttgart, Germany, have signed a binding agreement for a joint venture to develop, produce and commercialise fuel-cell systems for use in heavy-duty trucks. The companies aim to make the new JV a leading global manufacturer of fuel-cells, contributing towards climate-neutral and sustainable transportation by 2050.
As part of the joint venture, the Volvo Group will acquire 50% of the partnership interests in Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co. KG for approximately €0.6 billion on a cash and debt-free basis. The companies will own equal interests in the joint venture, but continue to be competitors in all other areas such as vehicle technology and fuel-cell integration in trucks.
The ventures’ goal is to start with customer tests of trucks with fuel-cells in approximately three years and to enter series production during the second half of this decade. The close of the transaction is expected during the first half of 2021; it is still subject to merger control review by the relevant authorities, as well as other approvals.
“For us at Daimler Truck AG and our intended partner, the Volvo Group, the hydrogen-based fuel-cell is a key technology for enabling CO$^2$-neutral transportation in the future,” commented Martin Daum, chairman of the board of management of Daimler Truck AG and member of the board of management of Daimler AG. “We are both fully committed to the Paris Climate Agreement for decarbonising road transport and other areas, and to building a prosperous jointly held company that will deliver large volumes of fuel-cell systems.
“In the future, the world will be powered by a combination of battery-electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles, along with other renewable fuels to some extent,” Daum added. “The formation of our fuel-cell joint venture is an important step in shaping a world we want to live in.”
In addition to trucks, the companies explained that there are other areas of application for this type of fuel-cell system. The joint venture will develop a system with several power stages, including a twin system with 300 kW continuous power for heavy-duty long-haul trucks. Based on the demanding conditions in heavy-duty truck applications, the joint venture’s products are also said to be ideally suited for other use cases such as stationary power generation.