Sharing the Green Deal vision of sustainable transport and a carbon neutral Europe by 2050, Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group, have announced in a joint press release that they have signed a preliminary non-binding agreement to establish a new joint venture with the intention to develop, produce and commercialise fuel cell systems for heavy-duty vehicle applications and other uses. Under the agreement, Daimler will consolidate all its current fuel cell activities in the joint venture. The Volvo Group will acquire 50% in the joint venture for the sum of approximately EUR 0.6 billion on a cash and debt free basis.
Fuel cells are seen as a solution for vehicles such as coaches and trucks to cope with heavy loads and long distances. At the launch of the joint initiative between Daimler and the Volvo Group, the partners called it a milestone in bringing fuel cell powered trucks and buses onto the roads.
Martin Daum, Chairman of the Board of Management Daimler Truck AG and Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, said: “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 Lundstedt, Volvo Group President and CEO, added: “The Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG will be 50/50 partners in the joint venture, which will operate as an independent and autonomous entity, with Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group continuing to be competitors in all other areas of business. Joining forces will decrease development costs for both companies and accelerate the market introduction of fuel cell systems in products used for heavy-duty transport and demanding long-haul applications. In the context of the current economic downturn cooperation has become even more necessary in order to meet the Green Deal objectives within a feasible time-frame.
The common 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 non-automotive use cases are also part of the new joint venture’s scope.”
To enable the joint venture, Daimler Trucks is bringing together all group-wide fuel cell activities in a new Daimler Truck fuel cell unit, including 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 operations in Nabern (Germany), which is currently headquarters of Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH, and production facilities in Germany and Canada. The preliminary agreement is non-binding, and a final agreement is expected by Q3 2020.