After both Daimler and Ford decided to wind down their joint venture into fuel cell developments, Ballard steps in. They acquired strategic assets of AFCC such as production facilities and test beds for fuel cell stacks.
Daimler and Ford formed the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation Corporation (AFCC) in 2008 in British Columbia. It is this location in Canada so very close to Ballard that makes the deal even more practical.
Moreover, Ballard CEO Randy MacEwen says this acquisition “immediately provides needed expansion of our product and material testing capabilities,” and also gives access to “key production equipment that provides much of the incremental capacity needed to meet forecasted growth over the next five years,” he added. Overall, it enables Ballard to expand their existing Vancouver facilities at a lower cost, compared to acquiring new equipment.
Ford and Daimler agreed to end their cooperation amicably (we reported). Both companies will continue fuel cell research on their own.
Ford‘s plans “will take fuel cell stack development in-house, as well as leverage the supply base”, while Daimler CEO Dieter Zetsche indicated earlier this year that the company will focus more on battery-electric vehicles.
Ballard recently extended their existing fuel cell cooperation with Audi until 2022. Their Hymotion programme aims for a small series Audi FCEV early in the next decade.
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