By on March 7, 2013

Canadian fuel cell firm Ballard Power inked a deal with Volkswagen that could be worth as much as $100-million and last up to 6 years.

According to the CBC, Ballard will provide fuel cells for VW’s HyMotion hydrogen lineup, which will consist of a demonstrator fleet for now. Long a darling of North America’s clean energy sector, Ballard’s automotive fuel cell business began to turn south over the last decade, and in 2008, Ballard sold its automotive fuel cell assets to Daimler and Ford.

Ballard remained in the fuel cell business for forklifts, buses and stationary electrical generation, though it continued to keep a foothold in the automotive fuel cell business. But a number of advances in hydrogen fuel cells, from the technology itself to the abundance of natural gas used to make hydrogen to innovative fueling projects that use sewage, have spurred renewed interest in hydrogen as an automotive fuel.

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11 Comments on “Volkswagen, Ballard Power Sign Fuel Cell Deal, Worth Up To $100 Million...”

  • avatar

    Fuel cells: the technology that’s been five years away–for the last 25 years.

  • avatar

    Go Burnaby!

  • avatar

    VW had a hybrid Sharan on display a couple summers ago at Portland Head Light in Maine. I didn’t care too much about the hydrogen aspect because that’s still far away from a reality. But after seeing it in person I was annoyed that the Sharan wasn’t on sale in North America. There was also a hydrogen 7 series and some other brands that I don’t remember on display. The Sharan made an impression though even though it had a vapourware powertrain in it.

  • avatar
    Felix Hoenikker

    Around Y2K the Ballard Power discussion board on the Motley Fool site was a lively place. The stock price at that time was well north of $100 per share. I used to comment on that board about the trememdous hurdles that lay between fuel cells and the commercilaization of the technology for automobiles.
    The fuel cell fanbois did not like what I had to say, but it proved 100% correct. I like the idea of a hydrogen economy, but don’t think I will live to see it.

    • 0 avatar

      I wish I had been reading the site. I lost my ass on Ballard Power. Not my entire ass, but a big enough chunk that I still remember…

      • 0 avatar

        I guess the Ballard did his Icarus feat, crashed & burnt.
        Just became another sad statistic of penny stock, no different than the hey days of our man late Murray Pezim.
        He was probably to PT Barnum of the Vancouver stock exchange.

  • avatar
    doctor olds

    Good line, E46! Fuel cells have been undergoing development for years. GM showed the HyWire in 2002 for example.
    There has been extensive R and D work on fuel cells which can solve the energy density and “recharging” speed problems of batteries. They can be expected to sort of “plug in” to EV architectures on the road now.

    They have had two roadblocks, cost, and hydrogen refilling infrastructure.

    Just a few years ago, a typical vehicle size cell cost $30,000 or so. It has to come way down to even match the $8,000 or so of a Volt’s battery, which would still be too much.

    The state of the art in Hydrogen refueling stations cost about $1,000,000 each around 2008. These will not spring up on every street corner, but I recall Tom Stephens, GM Powertrain Executive VP at the time, pointing out that a few billion national investment would cover a big share of the country’s population.
    Its a chicken – egg question- Why will any fuel supplier invest $millions when there are no FC vehicles and who will buy any FC vehicles if there are no fuel stations?

    • 0 avatar

      The $1,000,000 figure sounds forbidding out of context. I wonder what it costs to build a conventional gasoline/diesel station. I’d guess that it’s not a whole lot less. Of course, the conventional station will have a lot more customers at first, but we’ve got to start someplace.

  • avatar
    Dr. Kenneth Noisewater

    Solid Oxide fuel cells that can take ammonia, gasoline, diesel, CNG, etc. as fuel are more interesting.

  • avatar

    I take VeeDub is flush with mulla, a hundred mill is SFA to them but it could breath a lot of live into our doldrum van research community.
    Remember my Chem prof said, if 1 out of a 10000 or 100k research became successful then we will have 1 new invention.
    Scientific community do really depends on these deep pocket corp to finance anything.
    No $, no grant those wheels will not continue to spin.
    Do sincerely hope it’ll go places soon.
    And Vancouver is kind of a Godforsaken place in terms of scientific research, all we were known for is a place for tacky tourists, movie industries.
    Fishing and wood cutting are kind of a has been.
    Today on the news our Viking air plane manufacturing who built Twin Otter plane here on Van isl is doing quite fine. As she is really behind on the 8th ball in building planes, as there are a few extra orders.
    And our provincial elections will be coming to us real soon May or sooner.
    Our current govt inherited the HST which was a simpler way of combining the 2 sales tax ( Federal & provincial )but the deposed DUI premier Uncle Whisky Gordy Campbell sold us down the river, the new tax did made us to pay more on Tax such as restaurant food, children clothes and all the way to the day when u bought your farm namely funeral services.
    Uncle Gordy didnt end up hurt too badly he got a cushy job as an embassy staff to Old Blighty to be close to Queen Lizzy and able to enjoy some real Chivas Regal and Johnny Walker there.

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