Ballard and MAHLE to Collaborate on Fuel Cell Propulsion Systems for Heavy- and Medium-Duty Trucks

Ballard Power Systems has announced an agreement to collaborate with MAHLE, a leading international development partner and Tier 1 supplier to the commercial vehicle and automotive industry, on the development and commercialization of zero-emission fuel cell systems to provide primary propulsion power in various classes of commercial trucks.

Founded in Germany in 1920 and celebrating its 100-year anniversary, today the MAHLE Group employs approximately 77,000 people working at 160 production locations and 16 research and development centers around the globe and generates annual sales of approximately €12 billion (numbers referring to the business year 2019). MAHLE’s commercial vehicle division supplies a broad range of products to truck and other OEMs, including power cells, valves and camshafts, engine cooling components, fuel and oil management systems, electronics and mechatronics. MAHLE components are present in half of all the vehicles on the world’s roads.

MAHLE has been a series supplier for fuel cell vehicles for over a decade. The technology group holds a particularly strong position in the complex air intake system and in the temperature control of fuel cell systems, as well as air filter solutions for fuel cells. MAHLE has brought together its fuel cell activities in a project house, where one area of focus is the development of components for fuel cell systems in commercial vehicles.

Dr. Jörg Stratmann, Chairman and CEO of MAHLE said, “Hydrogen and fuel cells are a cornerstone of CO2-neutral mobility, particularly with regard to road transport. This collaboration brings together MAHLE’s strength in the automotive Tier 1 value chain and our vast expertise in the fuel cell periphery with Ballard’s industry leadership in PEM fuel cell technology and systems.”  

Randy MacEwen, Ballard CEO noted, “We are excited to be working with MAHLE, a global leader in automotive product supply, service and support. Together with Ballard’s experience powering vehicles for over 50 million kilometers, our unparalleled proven product durability, and our intellectual property and know-how around high-power density fuel cell stacks, we are very confident in our ability to effectively address the $100 billion annual total addressable market for commercial truck engines. With our shared vision on the role of fuel cell technology to decarbonize heavy-duty trucks and our complementary capabilities, we expect this collaboration with MAHLE to result in development and commercialization of winning fuel cell engines for customers in the truck engine market in Europe and beyond, at a time where policies are mandating zero-emission powertrain solutions.”

During the initial development phase, Ballard has prime responsibility for system design and the fuel cell stack sub-system, while MAHLE’s scope of responsibility includes balance-of-plant components, thermal management and power electronics for the complete fuel cell system, or engine, as well as system assembly. MAHLE brings a number of key attributes to the collaboration, including:

  • Extensive experience within the commercial truck value chain;
  • Vast expertise in the field of peripheral fuel cell components;
  • Supply chain muscle;
  • High-volume production expertise; 
  • Long-standing relationships with multiple commercial truck, and other, OEMs;
  • After-sales service infrastructure; and
  • A highly respected global brand.

The collaboration is subject to completion of definitive documents.

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