Two of the largest automakers in Europe are teaming up to produce more hydrogen powered vehicles.
Volvo Trucks and Daimler have launched a collaboration to develop and sell heavy duty truck fuel cells.
Manufacturers are finding themselves working together as they feel the strain from the pandemic.
The collaboration is part of an increasing trend among automakers who are facing increased uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic. They are being pushed to pool their resources and work together on new ventures that require them to take on the cost of new technology.
In this case, Daimler will bring all its heavy duty truck fuel cells resources into this joint venture. The Volvo Group will pay €600 million ($650 million) to acquire half of the venture. Executives form both automakers have stated that though the joint venture is starting between the two of them, they are open to including other companies.
Developing and selling heavy duty truck fuel cells will require participation from multiple parties.
“Truly CO2-neutral transport can be accomplished through electric drive trains with energy coming either from batteries or by converting hydrogen on board into electricity,” said Daimler Truck board of management chairperson, Martin Daum. “This joint initiative with the Volvo Group is a milestone in bringing fuel cell powered trucks and buses onto our roads.”
Volvo Trucks CEO Martin Lundstedt added that the current coronavirus pandemic “convinced us even more that this is an area that needs continued focus.”
These two automakers are far from the first to have started looking into hydrogen to fuel large commercial vehicles. For instance, earlier this year, Robert Bosch, the auto supplier in Germany, said it planned to begin fuel cell manufacturing in 2022. Moreover, Hyundai will be launching a European fuel cell truck fleet later in 2020. Earlier in April, Toyota said that Hino – its truck manufacturing subsidiary – planned to develop heavy duty truck fuel cells for vehicles of its own.
The new Daimler Volvo venture will involve Daimler’s operations in Nabern Germany, as well as its plants located in both Germany and Canada. The agreement remains preliminary and non-binding at the moment, but both automakers expect that a final agreement will be made by September and that the deal will close before the end of the year.