Daimler and Ford will Form Automotive Fuel Cell Company
AUBURN HILLS, MI
and DEARBORN, MI
– Daimler AG and Ford Motor Company are forming a new, privately held company that will focus on automotive fuel cell technology and allow the two automakers to further expand their global leading position in fuel cell technology. With a share of 50.1 percent, Daimler AG will be the majority stakeholder in the new company, Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC). Ford Motor Company will hold a 30 percent stake and Ballard Power Systems the remaining stake of 19.9 percent in AFCC.
“We have identified the future fields of activity and key technologies for zero-emission mobility and we are investing specifically in expanding our competencies in these fields,” said Dr. Thomas Weber, member of the board of management of Daimler AG with responsibility for group research as well as for development within Mercedes-Benz Cars. “Our majority stake and partnership with Ford in Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation is a logical step in this direction.”
“The fuel cell remains one of the most viable solutions to develop a sustainable, zero-emissions vehicle,” said Dr. Gerhard Schmidt, Ford vice president for Research and Advanced Engineering. “The creation of the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation is an investment in our future. Fuel cells are the technology of the future and we are happy to be working with a great partner like Daimler to advance this technology. Through this partnership, we will work even harder to make fuel cell technology even more reliable and affordable for the future.”
The creation of AFCC will allow Daimler and Ford to concentrate on automotive fuel cell technology while Ballard will emphasize their future efforts on the marketing of non-automotive fuel cell applications.
“Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation will orient its activities even more intensively to the specific requirements we make on fuel cell stacks,” said Prof. Dr. Herbert Kohler, vice president with responsibility for advanced vehicle and powertrain engineering and chief environmental officer of the Daimler Group. “With the newly founded company, we strengthen our leading position in the field of fuel cell technology and go full steam ahead in our preparations for the series production of fuel cell cars.”
Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation will be managed by Daimler and Ford with their collective 80.1 percent stake in the new company, while Ballard will hold the remaining stake of 19.9 percent. In return, Daimler AG and Ford will retransfer their total stake in Ballard. The new company will employ approximately 150 people.
Fuel Cells at Daimler AG
A pioneer in fuel cell technology, Daimler introduced the world’s first fuel cell vehicle in 1994. Today, the company has more than 100 fuel cell vehicles on the road accumulating more than 3.7 million kilometers (2.3 million miles) in everyday operation with customers to date.
Fuel Cells Part of a Broader Effort at Ford
Ford Motor Company currently has a fleet of 30 hydrogen-powered Focus fuel cell vehicles on the road as part of a worldwide, seven-city program to conduct real world testing of fuel cell technology. The 30-car fleet has accumulated more than 965,000 kilometers (600,000 miles) since its inception in 2005.
Ford also is conducting tests with the world’s first plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, the Ford Edge with HySeries Drive. The Ford Edge with HySeries Drive uses a series electric drivetrain with an onboard hydrogen fuel cell generator to give the vehicle a range of 225 miles with zero emissions.
Ford currently offers gasoline-electric hybrids including the Escape Hybrid and Mercury Mariner Hybrid. The company will begin production of hybrid versions of the Ford Fusion and Mercury Milan in 2008.