Ford, Nissan and Daimler join forces to develop affordable fuel-cell cars

Article by Christian Andrei, on January 29, 2013

Daimler, Ford and Nissan have teamed up to create a range of affordable fuel cell cars that will go on sale beginning in 2017 in what may be the first major advance for the zero-emission technology. The three automakers released a statement to say that the new alliance urges suppliers, policymakers and the industry to continue developing hydrogen infrastructure throughout the world.

According to Daimler research and development chief Thomas Weber, the alliance makes it close to attaining a breakthrough in fuel-cell cars. At a press conference in Germany, Weber said that the partners are aiming to achieve an output of at least 100,000 cars. The statement also revealed that the manufacturers will invest equal amounts in the project for the development of fuel-cell stacks and systems.

On January 24, Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW revealed that they will team up to develop fuel-cell systems, aside from cooperating in other aspects such as light-weight technologies and a common sports-car platform. Electricity is produced by fuel cells when hydrogen and oxygen combine, emitting evaporated water. When comparing electric vehicles powered by batteries to fuel-cell cars, it should be noted that fuel-cell cars have a range close to combustion engine vehicles and fueling it takes as much time as that of a gasoline tank.

Herbert Kohler, Daimler's head of future technology, said that in order to avoid lengthy contract negotiations, Nissan Motor Co. will not be taking a stake in the joint venture Automotive Fuel Cell Corp. between Daimler and Ford Motor Co.

By partnering up with other companies, manufacturers get to share costs and attain higher volumes when production begins. Weber said that progress is quicker when development is made around the clock. The partners’ existing development centers in Detroit, Tokyo, Vancouver and Daimler's hometown of Stuttgart, Germany, will be used in this project.

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