Audi has secured a crucial fuel-cell technology that will be vital in advancing the Volkswagen Group’s development of green vehicles. Under a deal valued up to $112 million, Canadian tech firm Ballard Power Systems will transfer automotive-related patents to VW Group for $50 million and will provide engineering services until March 2019.
Audi intends to make the technology available to other Volkswagen brands like Porsche, Bentley and Lamborghini. Fuel cell technology could make possible zero-emission vehicles to have longer ranges than current electric cars while only emitting heat and water as waste.
Despite that some top auto executives like Carlos Ghosn of Renault-Nissan and Elon Musk of Tesla Motors have been critical of the economic viability of the fuel cell technology as well as the large investment required to set up hydrogen fueling stations.
One of the technology’s pioneer in the auto industry, Toyota Motor, commenced sales of $62,000 Mirai fuel cell sedan in Japan in December 2015 and will introduced the FCV in the United States and Europe later this year.
The Mirai could travel up to 300 miles (480km), basically longer than most plug-in electric cars. VW has been known to be cautious of the large-scale rollout of the technology in the near term, but the German carmaker has intensified development efforts.
In fact, it has already unveiled fuel cell-powered concept versions of the VW Golf, VW Passat and Audi A7.