Daimler Truck AG and Volvo Group Fully Commit to Hydrogen Fuel Cells – New Cellcentric Joint Venture Launched
Today, two industry leaders in commercial vehicles – Daimler Truck AG and Volvo Group – officially presented their pioneering roadmap for the new cellcentric fuel cell joint venture, as part of an unprecedented commitment to the industry aimed at accelerating the use of hydrogen-based fuel cells. for long-haul trucks and beyond. With the ambition to become one of the world’s leading manufacturers of fuel cell systems, cellcentric will build one of the largest series production projects of fuel cell systems in Europe, expected to begin operation in 2025. To accelerate the deployment of hydrogen-based fuel cells, the two cell-centric shareholders are calling for a harmonized European policy framework for hydrogen to help the technology become a viable business solution.
These ambitions were revealed in an exclusive digital launch today, led by Martin Daum, CEO of Daimler Truck AG, and Martin Lundstedt, CEO of Volvo Group. Designed to help achieve the 2050 goals of sustainable transport and a carbon neutral Europe as part of the European Green Deal, cellcentric will develop, produce and market fuel cell systems for long haul trucking and other applications. The joint venture can draw on decades of expertise and development work from Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group.
According to Daimler Truck AG and Volvo Group, the pure electric and hydrogen fuel cell trucks will complement each other depending on the customer’s individual use case. Instead, battery power will be used for lighter loads and shorter distances, while fuel cell power will tend to be the preferred option for heavier loads and longer distances.
Martin Daum, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Daimler Truck AG and Member of the Board of Directors of Daimler AG, says: “Hydrogen fuel cell electric trucks will be essential to enable CO2-neutral transport in the future. In combination with purely electric battery-powered drives, it allows us to offer our customers the best truly local CO.2– neutral vehicle options, depending on the application. Battery-powered electric trucks alone will not make this possible. Together with our partner Volvo Group, we are therefore fully engaged in our cellcentric fuel cell joint venture and both are advancing the development of technology as well as preparations for series production. Regarding the necessary hydrogen infrastructure, it is clear that green hydrogen is the only sensible way in the long term. “
Martin Lundstedt, CEO of the Volvo Group, said: “Our common ambition is to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement to become CO2-neutral by 2050 at the latest. We believe that hydrogen fuel cell technology plays an essential role in helping us take this step. But we know there is much more to be accomplished than simply electrifying machines and vehicles. There needs to be greater cooperation between public and private stakeholders to develop the necessary technology and infrastructure, which is why we call for united action by policymakers and governments around the world to help us make hydrogen fuel cell technology a success. Partnerships like cellcentric are essential to our commitment to decarbonize road transport. “
The major truck manufacturers in Europe, also supported by Daimler Truck AG and Volvo Group, are therefore asking for the establishment of around 300 high-performance hydrogen refueling stations suitable for heavy vehicles by 2025 and around 1,000 refueling stations. hydrogen refueling no later than 2030 in Europe. This joint initiative, using hydrogen as a vector of green electricity to power electric trucks in long-haul operations, is an important part of decarbonizing road transport.
As CO2-neutral trucks are currently significantly more expensive than conventional vehicles, a policy framework is needed to ensure demand and affordability. According to Daimler Truck AG and Volvo Group, this should include incentives for CO2 neutral technologies and a taxation system based on carbon and energy content. An emissions trading system could be an additional option.
Clear roadmap towards mass production of fuel cell systems and fuel cell trucks
Currently, cellcentric is conceptualizing plans for its large-scale mass production. More details and a location decision will be revealed during 2022. As an important step towards series production, preparations for pre-series production are taking place at a new site in Esslingen near Stuttgart. At the same time, cellcentric is increasing the production of ongoing prototypes.
The aim of Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group is to start with customer tests of fuel cell trucks in around three years and to mass produce fuel cell trucks in the second half of this decade. All vehicle-related activities are carried out independently of each other, as the two companies continue to compete in all vehicle and product lines, and in particular in fuel cell integration solutions for all products. .
Joint venture for fuel cell systems
On March 1, 2021, Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group formed cellcentric. To this end, the Volvo Group acquired 50 percent of the stakes in the existing partnership of Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co. KG for approximately 0.6 billion euros on a cash and debt-free basis. In November 2020, Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group signed a binding agreement for the joint venture. A preliminary non-binding agreement had already been signed in April of the same year.
More than 300 highly specialized experts work for cellcentric in interdisciplinary teams at sites in Nabern, Stuttgart (Germany) and Burnaby (Canada). Around 700 individual patents have been issued to date, highlighting the company’s leading role in technology development.