Clean transportation: Electric cars seem to be the world's primary method of achieving an emissions-free future, but not every car company is necessarily convinced they are the only path forward. Indeed, carmakers Daimler and Volvo are teaming up to prove that hydrogen-based fuel cells are just as viable as a means of powering clean vehicles.
The companies have formed a new joint venture that will focus on large-scale fuel cell production, primarily for heavy-duty trucks. The first milestone they hope to reach is developing a "twin system" fuel cell that can provide 300 kW of "continuous power" to heavy-duty, long-haul trucks.
Aside from powering heavy trucks, Daimler and Volvo hope to use their fuel cells for other purposes, such as "stationary power generation." We also assume the companies will eventually bring their fuel cell technology to mass-market vehicles, but that could still be several years away.
To be clear, neither Daimler nor Volvo are looking to replace EVs here. On the contrary -- the companies believe battery-powered vehicles will play an equally important role in the future. However, they don't want those cars to be the sole focus of the world's ambitions.
"In the future, the world will be powered by a combination of battery-electric and fuel-cell electric vehicles, along with other renewable fuels to some extent," said Volvo CEO Martin Lundstedt in a statement. "The formation of our fuel-cell joint venture is an important step in shaping a world we want to live in."
Daimler and Volvo hope that their experience in carmaking, combined with the former's "several decades" of development work on fuel cells, will enable them to become major players in the fuel cell industry.
This joint venture agreement is expected to finalize during the first half of 2021, pending regulatory approval.