The Volvo Group & Daimler Truck recently announced that they have signed a preliminary non-binding agreement that would see the two companies create a joint venture focused on developing and producing fuel cells for heavy-duty trucks and other use cases. The 50/50 partnership is part of the companies’ efforts to support Green Deal initiatives that hope to make Europe carbon-neutral by 2050 and also to achieve the goal of commercializing fuel cells for various applications, both transportation-related and otherwise.
Daimler says it will “consolidate all its current fuel cell activities in this joint venture,” which will operate as an independent business unit headquartered in Germany with production facilities located in Germany and Canada. It will also include Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH’s operations. The Volvo Group will purchase a 50% stake in the joint venture for roughly EUR 0.6 billion “on a cash and debt-free basis,” the company explains. The companies plan to finalize the agreement and close the deal by the end of 2020.
“Transport and logistics keep the world moving, and the need for transport will continue to grow. Truly CO2-neutral transport can be accomplished through electric drivetrains with energy coming either from batteries or by converting hydrogen on board into electricity,” says Martin Daum, Daimler Truck AG chairman of the board of management and Daimler AG board member. “For trucks to cope with heavy loads and long distances, fuel cells are one important answer and a technology where Daimler has built up significant expertise through its Mercedes-Benz fuel cell unit over the last two decades. This joint initiative with the Volvo Group is a milestone in bringing fuel cell-powered trucks and buses onto our roads.”
An Important Piece Of The Puzzle
“Electrification of road transport is a key element in delivering the so-called Green Deal, a carbon-neutral Europe and ultimately a carbon-neutral world,” says Martin Lundstedt, president and CEO of the Volvo Group. “Using hydrogen as a carrier of green electricity to power electric trucks in long-haul operations is one important part of the puzzle, and a complement to battery-electric vehicles and renewable fuels. Combining the Volvo Group and Daimler’s experience in this area to accelerate the rate of development is good both for our customers and for society as a whole.
“By forming this joint venture, we are clearly showing that we believe in hydrogen fuel cells for commercial vehicles,” Lundstedt continues. “But for this vision to become reality, other companies and institutions also need to support and contribute to this development, not least in order to establish the fuel infrastructure needed.”