Ballard buys UK fuel cell specialist Arcola


The Canadian fuel cell manufacturer Ballard Power Systems acquires Arcola Energy, a British specialist for the integration of fuel cell systems in heavy commercial vehicles such as buses, trucks and trains. Both sides had previously worked together for years.

Ballard will pay a total amount of up to 40 million dollars in cash and shares for all shares in Arcola. Parts of the purchase price consist of a fixed, immediate cash payment and an additional performance-based payment in two years. Both companies know each other well: Arcola has more than ten years of experience in integrating Ballard fuel cell products into powertrains and heavy-duty vehicles, the acquiring party says.

Arcola currently employs around 90 people in the UK. The company is one of the fastest-growing hydrogen companies in the UK and works with a network of local authorities, fleet operators and OEMs, it adds.

“We continue to focus on simplifying the fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) experience and ease implementation friction points for OEM customers and end-users,” expressed Randy MacEwen, president and CEO of Ballard. “With the acquisition of Arcola, we will make it easier for existing and new OEM customers globally to offer FCEVs by providing stronger support for the integration of our fuel cell engines into their vehicle platforms, including powertrain integration, vehicle integration and application engineering.”

Arcola CEO Ben Todd hailed the buyout as an opportunity to combine its expertise in FC powertrain integration with Ballard’s “world-leading PEM fuel cell technology and market position in heavy-duty mobility.” The acquisition significantly strengthens Arcola’s global system integration capabilities while deepening its presence in the UK.

Ballard Power Systems, for its part, is one of the major players in the PEM fuel cell market and is primarily active in the medium- and heavy-duty vehicle segment. Just earlier this week, the Canadian company announced a new order for a total of 40 fuel cell modules planned for use in buses in France, Germany and the UK next year.

In total, nearly 160 hydrogen buses with Ballard fuel cells are currently in service in Europe, up 80 per cent from October 2020, according to the manufacturer’s figures. “The market momentum for hydrogen fuel cell buses continues to grow across Europe. In just twelve months, we have expanded from ten to over 25 cities in ten European countries,” says Oben Uluc, Director of European Sales at Ballard.


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