- Affordable fuel cell cars took a step closer to reality on Monday with the announcement of a new deal among Daimler, Ford and Nissan.
- The three companies said the collaboration is expected to lead to the launch of the world's first mass-market fuel-cell electric vehicles by as early as 2017.
- The goal is to develop a common fuel cell electric vehicle system while reducing investment costs.
YOKOHAMA, Japan — Affordable fuel-cell cars took a step closer to reality on Monday with the announcement of a new deal involving Daimler, Ford and Nissan.
The three companies said the collaboration is expected to lead to the launch of the world's first mass-market fuel-cell electric vehicles by as early as 2017. The three are targeting production of at least 100,000 cars.
The goal is to develop a common fuel-cell electric vehicle system while reducing investment costs.
Fuel-cell electric vehicles are widely seen as the next breakthrough technology, but engineering costs have been prohibitive because the vehicles are so complex. Fuel-cell electric vehicles hold great promise, especially when compared to pure electric vehicles, which have many limitations. They include limited range, infrastructure concerns and high sticker prices.
Fuel-cell electric vehicles solve the range problem and unlike hybrids, they don't emit pollutants. There are also fewer infrastructure concerns with fuel-cell electric vehicles. The major concern is how to get the cost down.
Daimler, Ford and Nissan said the unique three-way agreement for the joint development of a common fuel-cell system is expected to "speed up availability of zero-emission technology and significantly reduce investment costs."
The engineering work on the fuel-cell stack and fuel-cell system will be done jointly by the three companies at several locations around the world. The partners are also studying the joint development of fuel-cell electric vehicle components.
"Working together will significantly help speed this technology to market at a more affordable cost to our customers," said Raj Nair, Ford group vice president of global product development in a statement. "We will all benefit from this relationship, as the resulting solution will be better than any one company working alone."
Edmunds says: An affordable fuel-cell electric vehicle may be in your driveway in several years thanks to this landmark deal.