Fuel-cell powered vehicles may not be a common sight in traffic these days, but two companies are looking to change that. Ballard Power Systems (BLDP 1.75%) and Linamar (LIMAF -1.90%) announced today that they will collaborate on developing fuel cell solutions for Class 1 and Class 2 light-duty vehicles in North America and Europe. The beginning of their partnership aims to develop a fuel cell powertrain based on Ballard providing the fuel cell subsystem and Linamar producing the chassis, enclosure, and other parts.
Should the initial stages of the collaboration prove to be successful, the two companies said, they will consider forming a joint venture "to sell and support powertrains with fuel cell systems and an interchangeable rolling chassis for use in a range of light-duty class 1 and 2 vehicles, including passenger cars, SUVs, light trucks and commercial vans."
Linda Hasenfratz, the CEO of Linamar, sees considerable potential in the partnership with Ballard. According to Hasenfratz, "The establishment of this partnership to commercialize solutions for light duty vehicles using Fuel Cell technology is transformative for the future of mobility and combines the global technology leadership of two great Canadian businesses."
Ballard is a familiar name in the fuel cell industry. Its entrance into the light-duty vehicle market belies the momentum it is experiencing in other vehicle segments. On the company's recent fourth-quarter 2020 conference call, for example, management noted that, "Customer engagement in all of our medium- and heavy-duty motive market segments, bus, truck, rail, and marine, are at record levels."
The collaboration between Ballard and Linamar is the second announcement in the past week showing how fuel cell companies recognize potential in the transportation industry. Last Thursday, Plug Power and BAE Systems announced their interest in developing hydrogen-powered buses.