Mercedes-Benz announced that it will set up its own production of fuel cell stacks in Canada. By doing so, the company will bundle the development and production for one of the key components of fuel cell powered electric vehicles in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Prof. Herbert Kohler, Head of e-Drive and Future Mobility: “To consolidate our leading position in the field of alternative drive systems, we are ensuring direct access to the key technologies involved. Following our systematic development of battery expertise together with Accumotive GmbH in Germany, this decision is a further, major step on the road to emission-free driving.”
Günter Walz, Vice President Planning international cooperations Mercedes-Benz Cars, said “The decision was made to create and build a new production facility under the aegis of Mercedes-Benz Canada as the logical next step of Daimler’s successful cooperation with partners in Vancouver.” In February 2008, the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) in Burnaby, east ofVancouver, was founded as a joint venture between Daimler (50.1%), Ford (30%) and Ballard (19.9%). This is where the fuel cell stack, now used in the current Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro FuelCell Hybrid city bus, was developed.
The aim of this new operation is to cover the entire value chain, from materials research and development of a production technology for a large-scale production.
Construction of a facility designed for the production of stacks for fuel cell vehicles will begin immediately in a 2000 square metre space in a new Burnaby location. Completion of the production facilities is scheduled for early 2012. Following a graduated test and commissioning phase, small-series production of next-generation fuel cell stacks will commence as of 2013. Apart from delivering a higher output and efficiency, these fuel cell stacks excel with their compact construction. This next generation fuel cell stack will also be suitable for use in sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class or E-Class.
President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada, Marcus Breitschwerdt said, “We are delighted to take on the responsibility of producing the fuel cell stacks in addition to our overall Canadian wholesale and retail sales, parts and service operations. Our colleagues at AFCC have pioneered the development of fuel cell stacks in Canada and we are now extremely proud to be actively involved in the next very important chapters in establishing a small series production of fuel cell stacks.”
Since 2009, Mercedes-Benz produces the fuel cell powered B-Class F-CELL under large-scale production conditions. These are currently being driven on a day-to-day basis by customers in Europe and the USA. In addition, three B-Class F-CELL models are traveling 30,000 kilometres around the globe in the Mercedes-Benz F-CELL World Drive to demonstrate the high technical maturity of fuel cell technology. At the same time, this round-the-world journey is an appeal to all involved parties in industry and politics to accelerate the construction of the necessary network of hydrogen fueling stations.