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2013-01-29 14:50

IN AGREEMENT: (From left to right) Raj Nair, Ford Motor Company; Prof. Dr. Thomas Weber of Daimler AG and Mercedes-Benz Cars and Mitsuhiko Yamashita, of Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

YOKOHAMA, Japan - Daimler, Ford and Nissan have signed a three-way agreement to accelerate the commercialisation of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle (FCEV) technology.

The goal is to jointly develop a common fuel-cell electric vehicle system while reducing investment costs associated with the engineering of the technology. Each company will invest equally.

AFFORDABLE FCEV'S

The strategy to maximise design commonality, leverage volume and derive efficiencies through economies of scale will help to launch the world’s first affordable, mass-market FCEVs as early as 2017.

The three automakers have more than 60 years of cumulative experience in this field. Their FCEVs have logged more than 10-million km in test drives in customers’ hands and as demonstration projects in diverse conditions. The partners plan to develop a fuel-cell stack and fuel-cell system that can be used by each company in the launch of very different, separately branded FCEVs which produce no CO2 emissions.

The collaboration, they say, sends a clear signal to suppliers, policymakers and the industry to encourage further development of hydrogen refuelling stations and other infrastructure necessary to allow the vehicles to be mass-marketed.

Fuel cells "burn" hydrogen with atmospheric oxygen amd emit only water.

'OBVIOUS NEXT STEP'

Mitsuhiko Yamashita, a director and executive vice-president of Nissan, supervising research and development said: “Fuel-cell electric vehicles are the obvious next step to complement today's battery-electric vehicles as our industry embraces more sustainable transportation. We look forward to a future where we can answer many customer needs by adding FCEVs on top of battery EVs within the zero-emissions line-up.

Thomas Weber, member of the board of management of Daimler, group research & Mercedes-Benz Cars development said: “We are convinced that fuel-cell vehicles will play a central role for zero-emissions mobility. Thanks to the commitment of all three partners we can put fuel-cell e-mobility on a broader basis. This means with this co-operation we will make this technology available around the globe.”

Raj Nair, Ford's group vice-president for global product development, said: “Working together will accelerate this technology to market at a more affordable cost to customers.”

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