EKPO secures new order for bipolar plates


EKPO, the fuel cell joint venture between ElringKlinger and Plastic Omnium, has received an order from a “global automotive manufacturer” to supply mass-produced bipolar plates for the latter’s future fuel cell system.

As usual, EKPO Fuel Cell Technologies does not disclose the automaker’s name. The contract covers an initial term of five years from 2026 and has a total volume “in the mid-triple-digit million euro range.” EKPO does not go into specifics- not about the agreed number of units nor about technical specifications.

The company says it will invest a “high double-digit million euro” to manufacture the ordered bipolar plates at a new site. In February, EKPO Fuel Cell received an order from a European OEM for fuel cell stacks for use in a future production vehicle, and in September 2022, it received an order from a “leading European automobile manufacturer” for bipolar plates. The wording and references used at the time pointed to BMW as the customer.

After all, the number of manufacturers with current fuel cell projects is limited. Opel, for example, is one of the major OEMs active in this field. The manufacturer leads FC development in the Stellantis Group, but has so far only used them in vans. The Renault joint venture Hyvia also builds FC vans but relies on Plug Power technology. And BMW is known to be the only German OEM pursuing plans for fuel cell passenger cars, having started small-scale production of FC systems for the iX5 Hydrogen at the end of August 2022 – albeit still with fuel cells made by Toyota.

By process of elimination, the now-publicized bipolar plate order could come from the Stellantis Group since the group is pursuing fuel cell technology as well as being a “global automotive manufacturer.”


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