Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group today completed a transaction to form a fuel-cell joint venture. The Volvo Group has acquired 50% of the partnership interests in the existing Daimler Truck Fuel Cell company for ~€0.6 billion on a cash and debt-free basis. The lofty goal is to make the new joint venture a leading global manufacturer of fuel-cells. It will help both truck makers survive the growing and capital intensive move to climate-neutral and sustainable transportation. Daimler and the Volvo renamed the company cellcentric GmbH & Co. KG. In November 2020, the Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG signed a binding agreement that provided the foundation for the JV.
The joint venture will develop, produce and commercialize fuel-cell systems for use in heavy-duty trucks as the primary focus, as well as other applications. A key goal of Daimler and the Volvo is to start with customer tests of trucks with fuel-cells in about three years, and to begin series production during the second half of this decade.
Here, the Toyota industrial complex an Japan Inc. looks to be way out front. Toyota says that tests to verify the feasibility of using fuel-cell electric trucks to reduce CO2 emissions in logistics will begin in the Spring of 2022. The Japanese automaker appears to have a lead on using fuel-cells in heavy trucks to address the harmful effects of global warming. Toyota and Hino are jointly developing heavy-duty FCETs, and Asahi Group, NLJ, Seino Transportation, Yamato Transport, and Toyota will perform the road trials in their logistics operations.
The Japanese truck maker’s goal is also to accelerate the early commercial application of heavy-duty FCETs contributing to the development of a sustainable society. The air quality goals may be achieved, at least in part, by reducing CO2 emissions from heavy-duty FCETs, which account for approximately 70% of all CO2 emissions from commercial vehicles in Japan.
The Volvo Group and Daimler Truck own equal interests in the joint venture but claim – with an eye toward EU competition regulators, no doubt – to continue to be competitors in all other areas such as vehicle technology and fuel-cell integration in trucks.
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