Schaeffler signs fuel cell cooperation with Refire

At Auto Shanghai, Schaeffler signed a strategic cooperation agreement with Refire, a Chinese supplier of fuel cell technology. The duo aims to push the development of FC components such as bipolar plates or thermal management systems.

The background to the new partnership otherwise remains vague. Schaeffler leaves it at general statements: Both companies want to “advance the industrialisation of fuel cells” through their cooperation. As an automotive and industrial supplier, Schaeffler wants to make a significant contribution to the successful establishment of hydrogen technology with innovative components and systems for fuel cells and electrolysers.

According to Schaeffler, China has played a central role in the company’s success since it entered the market in 1995. According to the group, the Middle Kingdom accounts for 23.4 percent of total sales. “China is one of the most important markets and regions to the Schaeffler Group and will for sure become one of the main engines for the global economic recovery,” said Klaus Rosenfeld, CEO of Schaeffler AG. He added that his company wants to pioneer the movement of the world. “To this aim, we will continue to invest in China and make our contributions to support our customers in growing and achieving a sustainable development.”

At Auto Shanghai, during which the contract with Refire was also signed, Schaeffler is currently exhibiting, among other things, metallic bipolar plates for fuel cell stacks produced by forming and coating in the thin-film range. In addition, there are solutions for all degrees of electrification of powertrains. Following the establishment of a separate business division for e-mobility three years ago, Schaeffler announced their plan to start series production of electric motors for hybrid modules, hybrid transmissions and purely electric axle drives in 2021.

In addition to various series production orders for electric motors in the passenger car sector, Schaeffler also reports an order from a commercial vehicle manufacturer in this area. According to the group, this marks its entry into the market segment for heavy-duty applications in the truck sector.

The supplier has been active in the market for electric components for years – especially in the transmission sector. Schaeffler’s electric axle transmission has been in series production since 2017 and is a component of the electric drive system in the Audi e-tron and Porsche Taycan, among others. Schaeffler has also acquired the necessary expertise through targeted acquisitions in recent years. At the end of 2018, for example, the supplier acquired Elmotec Statomat, a specialist in winding technology. Schaeffler acquired Compact Dynamics, a development specialist in the field of innovative electric drive concepts, in 2016.


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