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Daimler, Volvo Trucks forming joint venture for large-scale production of fuel cells

25 April 2020

Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group have signed a preliminary non-binding agreement to establish a new joint venture with the intention to develop, produce and commercialize fuel cell systems for heavy-duty vehicle applications and other uses. Daimler will consolidate all its current fuel cell activities in the joint venture. The Volvo Group will acquire 50% in the joint venture for the sum of approximately EUR 0.6 billion on a cash and debt free basis.

The Volvo Group and Daimler Truck AG will be 50/50 partners in the joint venture, which will operate as an independent and autonomous entity, with Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group continuing to be competitors in all other areas of business. Joining forces will decrease development costs for both companies and accelerate the market introduction of fuel cell systems in products used for heavy-duty transport and demanding long-haul applications. In the context of the current economic downturn, cooperation has become even more necessary in order to meet the Green Deal objectives within a feasible time-frame, Daimler said.

The common goal is for both companies to offer heavy-duty vehicles with fuel cells for long-haul applications in series production in the second half of the decade. In addition, other automotive and non-automotive uses are also part of the new joint venture’s scope.

To enable the joint venture, Daimler Trucks is bringing together all group-wide fuel cell activities in a new Daimler Truck fuel cell unit. Part of this bundling of activities is the allocation of the operations of “Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH”, which has longstanding experience in the development of fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems for various vehicle applications, to Daimler Truck AG.

The joint venture will include the operations in Nabern/Germany (currently headquarters of the Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH) with production facilities in Germany and Canada.

The signed preliminary agreement is non-binding. A final agreement is expected by Q3 and closing before year-end 2020. All potential transactions are subject to examination and approval by the responsible competition authorities.

This marks a shift by Daimler to focus fuel cell development on heavy-duty vehicles and away from light-duty passenger cars such as the Mercedes-Benz GLC F-CELL vehicles that is currently being produced. The last GLC fuel cells will be produced and there are no immediate plans for another fuel cell car.

Source: Daimler