Preparation for the next generation of fuel cell drive systems
March 22, 2011
by Fleet Management staff
VANCOUVER/STUTTGART: Mercedes-Benz 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, BC.
In February 2008, the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) in Burnaby, east of Vancouver, was founded as a joint venture between Daimler (50.1 percent), Ford (30 percent) and Ballard (19.9 percent). 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.
Construction of a facility designed for the production of stacks for fuel cell vehicles will begin immediately in a 2,000sqm 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 in 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.
“To consolidate our leading position in the field of alternative drive systems, we are ensuring direct access to the key technologies involved, ” said Herbert Kohler, head of e-Drive and Future Mobility. “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.”
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.
Since 2009, Mercedes-Benz has produced the fuel cell powered B-Class F-CELL. These are currently being driven on a day-to-day basis by customers in Europe and the US.
In addition, three B-Class F-CELL models traveled 30,000 kilometres around the globe in the Mercedes–Benz F-CELL World Drive to demonstrate the high technical maturity of fuel cell technology. 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.