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Daimler, Ford, Nissan Agree To Share Hydrogen Fuel-Cell Costs For 2017 Or Later

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Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell

Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-Cell

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The speculation is over, as Daimler has signed a three-way agreement with Ford and the Renault-Nissan Alliance to jointly develop future hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

The technology, expensive to develop and not without its drawbacks, has been explored by each company in the past, and the agreement brings together 60 combined years and millions of miles of fuel-cell experience.

As recetly as last week, Daimler was said to be in talks with Ford, and the Franco-Japanese duo of Renault and Nissan, over the development of fuel-cell vehicles.

Mercedes-Benz had put development of the B-Class F-Cell, its own fuel-cell vehicle, on hold pending the agreement--reasoning that it couldn't be sold at a competitive price.

The new agreement with Renault-Nissan and Ford will enable each company to share development costs--vital if future fuel-cell vehicles are to remain competitive with those from BMW and Toyota, both of whom recently signed their own tech-sharing deal.

Mercedes-Benz, Renault, Nissan and Ford will co-develop a common fuel-cell stack and system that can be used by each company, yet utilized in highly-differentiated vehicles. The brands are hoping that high-profile deals such as this will encourage suppliers, governments and the industry as a whole that hydrogen is worth investing in, making it more viable for mass-market production.

“We are convinced that fuel cell vehicles will play a central role for zero-emission mobility in the future," explains Prof. Thomas Weber, board member for Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development, "Thanks to the high commitment of all three partners we can put fuel cell e-mobility on a broader basis. This means with this cooperation we will make this technology available for many customers around the globe.”

Engineering will be done jointly by each company, at various locations around the world, with the first fruits of the project expected to be available as soon as 2017.

Many are unsure whether hydrogen fuel-cells are even viable on a large scale, and the infrastructure requirements are even greater than that of electric vehicles.

However, with costs split between several large carmakers, we may be seeing the first seeds of cost-effective fuel-cell development now being planted.

Whether that encourages the industry as a whole, and the powers that be in government, is a different matter.

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Comments (3)
  1. You must be logged in to post your comment.As i said before when they said 2015 as the beginning, then i replied that it was a joke and now they say 2017 nd in 2017 they will say 2020 and in 2014 they will sell only some limited quantities without sufficient hydrogen infrastructure, etc. This is to keep selling petrol at high price because it make more profit overall for all of them.

    the only solution is to organize a general strike on all car manufacturers and postpone any new car buying indefinatelly till till begin this commercialisation. It never happen in the past a strike on car manufacturers, so begin a new experience right now. Your car of today can last for another 10 to 20 years with few repair and maintenance. Postpone any expe
     
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  2. @ Gor Er: The "newer" a car’s engineering is, the longer it takes to develop. When that "newness" includes its fuel source, it might take even longer; or might not. In the late 19th century, cars were just beginning to flirt with fuels made from petroleum. Those were scarce; nobody knew what to market it for: Lighting fuel (for lamps), or cooking fuel? Occasionally somebody would come along with one of these—Oh what were they?—Gasoline buggies, yes! That was it—Who would know what this stuff would be used for? But if somebody would want to buy it—well sure, they could. Those few early-adopting automobile owners would carry some "range anxiety" (sound familiar?).
     
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  3. They would also carry a gasoline can or two. But they would visit whatever might have their fuel of choice and ask. The answer would come: "Did you say, er, gasoline? Let me take a look, hmm ..."; then, maybe they'd continue with "yeah we have some of that."—maybe.
    These risk-acceptors would tank up wherever they got the chance. One thing they didn’t have to accept though was the expectation that running out might require waiting all night, or at least a half hour, like today's battery-powered electric vehicle might require for recharging.
     
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