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, British Columbia.
In February 2008, the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) in Burnaby, east of Vancouver, was founded as a joint venture between Daimler (50.1%), Ford (30%) and Ballard (19.9%). This is where the fuel cell stack used in the current Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro FuelCell Hybrid city bus was developed. 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.
Construction of a facility designed for the production of stacks for fuel cell vehicles will begin immediately in a 2000 m2 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 as of 2013.
To consolidate our leading position in the field of alternative drive systems, we are ensuring direct access to the key technologies involved. 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.—Prof. Herbert Kohler, Head of e-Drive and Future Mobility
The next-generation stack will deliver a higher output and efficiency, and feature 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.
Since 2009, Mercedes-Benz has produced the fuel cell powered B-Class F-CELL under large-scale production conditions. These are currently being driven on a day-to-day basis by customers in Europe and the USA. In addition, three B-Class F-CELL models are traveling 30,000 kilometers around the globe in the “Mercedes–Benz F-CELL World Drive”p\ to demonstrate the technical maturity of fuel cell technology. At the same time, 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.
Daimler says its drive strategy for the future it focused on three key development areas: (1) optimization of vehicles with high-tech internal combustion engines; (2)further improvements in efficiency with hybridization, and (3) emission-free driving with batteries or the fuel cell.