Volvo and Daimler launch fuel-cell joint venture

Part of deal sees Volvo gain half of new Daimler Truck Fuel Cell entity

Volvo and Daimler launch fuel-cell joint venture
The two Martins (L to R): Daum and Lundstedt


European rivals Volvo Group and Daimler have signed binding agreement for a joint venture to develop, produce and commercialise fuel-cell systems for use in heavy-duty trucks and other applications.

The Volvo Group will acquire 50 per cent of the partnership interests in new company Daimler Truck Fuel Cell for approximately €600 million (just under A$982.5 million) on a cash and debt-free basis.

Closing of the transaction is expected during the first half of 2021. The transaction is still subject to merger control review by relevant authorities, as well as other approvals.

The Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG 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. 

"For us at Daimler Truck AG and our intended partner, the Volvo Group, the hydrogen-based fuel-cell is a key technology for enabling CO2-neutral transportation in the future," Daimler chair Martin Daum says.

"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," Volvo Group president and CEO Martin Lundstedt adds.

"The formation of our fuel-cell joint venture is an important step in shaping a world we want to live in."

Volvo has been busy on the business side, also forming an alliance with Isuzu

Volvo and Daimler say the future joint venture will be able to benefit from their longstanding experience in technology development, industrialisation and large-scale vehicle production, with the overall aim of achieving a similar position in fuel-cells that the two companies currently have in commercial vehicles. 

The joint venture will develop a system with several power stages, including a twin system with 300kW (402hp) continuous power for heavy-duty long-haul trucks.

Both companies' goal is to start with customer tests of trucks with fuel-cells in about three years and to be in series production during the second half of this decade, they say.

Based on the demanding conditions in heavy-duty truck applications, the joint venture’s products are also ideally suited for other use cases such as stationary power generation, the companies announce.

In 2020, Rolls-Royce and Daimler Truck signed an agreement to cooperate on stationary fuel-cell generators for the CO2-neutral emergency power supply of critical facilities such as data centres.

The intention is to offer emission-free alternatives to diesel engines, which are currently applied in generators for emergency use.

A final cooperation agreement is expected to be signed by the end of the year. 


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