They say two heads are better than one, but if you ask the big wigs at Daimler, Ford and Nissan, three is even better. The three companies have just signed a three-way agreement to jointly develop a fuel cell system. The goal is to spread the cost and speed up the development of a commercially viable fuel cell electric vehicle, or FCEV. Together the three companies have over 60 years of FCEV experience, and hopefully the collaboration will result in dramatic increases in the development of these promising new cars.

The groups will be developing a common fuel cell stack and fuel cell system that will be shared across the companies. Each group will then take this technology and produce a unique, separately branded, FCEV. One byproduct of the collaboration is a signal to the policy makers, suppliers and the rest of the automotive industry that FCEVs are one of the best chances at achieving a zero-emission future. The hope is that this will encourage groups to begin planning and constructing the infrastructure needed for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles to be viable.

“We are convinced that fuel cell vehicles will play a central role for zero-emission mobility in the future.Thanks to the high commitment of all three partners we can put fuel cell e-mobility on a broader basis. This means with this cooperation we will make this technology available for many customers around the globe,” said Prof. Thomas Weber, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz cars Development.

This news comes hot on the heels of the agreement signed by Toyota and BMW which also involves fuel cell technology development. The biggest difference comes from timeframes. BMW and Toyota are aiming for 2020 to create a viable FCEV, whereas the new Renault-Nissan, Daimler and Ford alliance is targeting 2017 for the release of their new FCEV based products. Only time will tell if either group can hit their goal, but one thing is very clear. The automakers of the world are striving to find new and viable ways to take us into the automotive future and fuel cell technology is one of the biggest front runners to reach that goal.

By Christian Moe

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