Daimler Truck AG, Volvo Group plan joint venture on hydrogen fuel systems

In News, Daimler, Volvo4 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineApril 22, 2020

Global truck manufacturers Daimler Truck AG and Volvo Group have reached a preliminary agreement on a joint venture to develop, produce and commercialise fuel cell systems in heavy-duty vehicles by the second half of the decade.

The joint venture will operate as an independent and autonomous entity, with Daimler and Volvo continuing to be competitors in all other areas of business. Daimler will consolidate all of its current fuel cell activities in the joint venture, and Volvo Group will acquire 50% in the joint venture for €0.6 billion.

The goal is for both companies to offer heavy-duty vehicles with fuel cells for demanding long haul applications in series production in the second half of the decade. In addition, other automotive and nonautomotive use cases are part of the new joint effort‘s scope.

“Transport and logistics keep the world moving, and the need for transport will continue to grow,” says Daimler Truck chairman Martin Daum. “Truly CO2-neutral transport can be accomplished through electric drive trains with energy coming either from batteries or by converting hydrogen on board into electricity. 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.”

Volvo Group president and CEO Martin Lundstedt says 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.

“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. 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.”

Martin Daum, Daimler Truck chairman (left) with Martin Lundstedt, Volvo Group president and CEO.

To enable the joint venture, Daimler Trucks is bringing together all group-wide fuel cell activities in a new Daimler Truck fuel cell unit. Part of this bundling of activities is the allocation of the operations of ‘Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH‘, which has longstanding experience in the development of fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems for various vehicle applications, to Daimler Truck AG.

The joint venture will include the operations in Nabern/Germany (currently headquarters of the Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH) with production facilities in Germany and Canada.

The signed preliminary agreement is non-binding. A final agreement is expected by Q3 and closing before year-end 2020.