Mercedes begins fuel cell stack production

World’s first dedicated facility located in Burnaby, BC

June 22, 2012
by Canadian Automotive Review staff

TORONTO – Mercedes-Benz Canada has opened the world’s first automated automotive facility dedicated to the production and production technology development of fuel cell stacks. The 3,300 square metre building is located in Burnaby, BC.

The graduated testing and commissioning phase at the state-of-the-art facility is already well underway, and the first automated fuel cell stack was produced on June 7, 2012. Following the optimization of processes, it is expected that full-series production will commence shortly. In addition, another important parallel mandate of the new location will be continued research that is focused on the development of future generations of fuel cell stacks.

The strategic decision to locate the manufacturing plant in Burnaby was announced last year to ensure close proximity to the fuel cell stack development at Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) and the industrial fuel cell cluster located in the Greater Vancouver Area. This concentration has developed due to the numerous related companies and the significant activities in the field of fuel cell technology at the various institutes and universities, creating the environment and the required infrastructure necessary for the further development of fuel cell stacks.

“We are delighted that Mercedes-Benz has chosen British Columbia as its new home for fuel cell production. Their investment means jobs for BC families and potential for growth in our fuel cell development sector,” said Pat Bell, minister of jobs, tourism and innovation. “Fuel cells will one day power cars around the world, and BC’s world-class innovators are going to work with Mercedes-Benz to achieve that vision.”

Daimler has been a pioneer in the field of fuel cells from the very beginning. Most recently in 2011, the company demonstrated the suitability of fuel cell technology with the F-CELL World drive – a four-month, 30,000 kilometre journey that circumnavigated the globe and confirmed the high technical maturity of fuel cell technology.

“A steadfast commitment to innovation has guided our brand since we first invented the automobile, and today we are extremely proud to mark a significant milestone that will help us continue to reinvent the automobile,” said Tim Reuss, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada. “Fuel cell technology represents a viable transportation solution for the future that will provide our customers a zero-local emission vehicle that does not require any compromise. The fuel cell was developed right here in British Columbia, and a forward-thinking approach combined with supportive governments have helped establish an ideal environment for its continued development. Our new facility brings together the development with the manufacturing for the first time, and represents a major step towards the commercialization of this game-changing technology.”