Daimler AG, Ford and Nissan have signed a unique three-way agreement to accelerate commercialisation of fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technology.
The goal of the collaboration is to jointly develop a common fuel cell electric vehicle system while reducing investment costs associated with the technology's engineering. Each company will invest equally in the project.
The strategy to maximise design commonality, leverage volume and derive efficiencies through economies of scale will help to launch the world's first affordable, mass-market FCEVs as early as 2017.
Together, Daimler, Ford and Nissan have more than 60 years of cumulative experience developing FCEVs. Their FCEVs have logged more than 10 million kilometres in test drives by customers andin demonstration projects in diverse conditions.
The partners plan to develop a common fuel cell stack and fuel cell system that can be used by each company in the launch of highly differentiated, separately branded FCEVs, which produce no CO2 emissions while driving.
The electricity for The FCEVs is produced in the vehicle's fuel cell stack, where it is generated following an electro-chemical reaction between hydrogen - stored in a purpose-designed, high-pressure tank in the car - and oxygen from the air. The only by-products are water vapour and heat.
"Fuel cell electric vehicles are the obvious next step to complement today's battery electric vehicles as our industry embraces more sustainable transportation," says Nissan's Mitsuhiko Yamashita.
"Working together will significantly help speed this technology to market at a more affordable cost to our customers," says Ford's Raj Nair. "We will all benefit from this relationship as the resulting solution will be better than any one company working alone."
Engineering work on the fuel cell stack and the fuel cell system will be done jointly at several locations around the world. The partners are also studying the joint development of other FCEV components to generate further synergies.
The unique collaboration across three continents and three companies will help define global specifications and component standards, an important prerequisite for achieving higher economies of scale.