Automotive components supplier Bosch has announced it has made an agreement with fuel cell stack manufacturer Powercell for joint development, thereby entering the mobile fuel cells market for trucks and cars. The stack is the core of the fuel cell, which converts hydrogen into electrical energy. Bosch’s newly- formed alliance with Powercell will see the two partners working jointly to make the polymer-electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell ready for production. The company said it will then manufacture this technology under license for the global automotive market, with the launch expected in 2022.
Over the long term, the mobile fuel-cell business is potentially worth billions of euros for Bosch, the company said. It estimates that as much as 20 % of all electric vehicles worldwide will be powered by fuel cells by 2030. Bosch believes the best opportunities for broad adoption of fuel-cell technology are in the commercial vehicle market. It added that the European Union’s fleet requirements for trucks call for a reduction of CO2 emissions by 15 % on average by 2025, and 30 % by 2030. The company noted that this target can only be reached by electrifying more and more of the powertrain, with fuel cell playing a decisive role.
Bosch said that once they have become established in trucks, the company’s fuel-cell powertrains will then increasingly find their way into passenger cars. However, in order for this to take place, the cost of fuel-cell systems needs to be progressively reduced. The biggest cost item is the stack, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the total cost of a fuel-cell system. It also added that costs need fall when it comes to hydrogen, and this will take place as production grows.
Dr Stefan Hartung, Member, Board of Management and Chairman, Mobility Solutions business sector, Bosch, said the company already has a strong hand in the fuel-cell domain, and the alliance with Powercell makes it even stronger. “Commercialising technology is one of our strengths. We are now going to take on this task with determination and develop this market,” added Dr Hartung. He noted that through commercialisation and widespread marketing of this technology, Bosch will achieve economies of scale and push down costs.
With the combined weight of its clout and expertise, Bosch will provide the company’s fuel-cell technology with the chance to gain a foothold in the automotive market, noted Per Wassén, CEO, Powercell. He said that Powercell couldn’t imagine a better partner than Bosch for this.