Volkswagen, Ballard Power Sign Fuel Cell Deal, Worth Up To $100 Million

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler
volkswagen ballard power sign fuel cell deal worth up to 100 million

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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  • Felix Hoenikker Felix Hoenikker on Mar 07, 2013

    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.

  • Doctor olds Doctor olds on Mar 07, 2013

    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?

    • Patchnparrot Patchnparrot on Mar 07, 2013

      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.

  • Dr. Kenneth Noisewater Dr. Kenneth Noisewater on Mar 07, 2013

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

  • Blowfish Blowfish on Mar 08, 2013

    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.