Bosch, Powercell make fuel cell technology ready for mass production

April 29, 2019 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Fuel cell stack
Probably the most important alternative to battery electric propulsion is propulsion by hydrogen fuel cells. Bosch is now driving the industrialization of this technology through a cooperation agreement with fuel cell manufacturer Powercell AB of Sweden. The goals are ambitious: By 2030, up to 20 percent of all electric vehicles worldwide will be powered by fuel cells.

From a technical point of view, the stack, which is the heart of a fuel cell and converts hydrogen into electrical energy, is the central component of a fuel cell drive. Bosch's agreement stipulates that both partners will jointly develop the stack based on the polymer electrolyte fuel cell (PEM) to production maturity and that Bosch will manufacture the technology for the global automotive market under license.

The stack complements Bosch‘s portfolio of fuel cell components and is expected to be launched on the market by 2022 at the latest.

Bosch sees the best opportunities for a broad application of fuel cell technology in the commercial vehicle market. The European Union's fleet targets for trucks envisage an average reduction of 15 % in CO2 emissions by 2025 and 30 % by 2030. According to Bosch, this goal can only be achieved with increasing electrification of the drive system. The fuel cell plays a decisive role here. According to the company’s plans, in the future, fuel cell drives will also be increasingly used in passenger cars. To get there, the costs for fuel cell systems will have to be reduced. The largest item is the stack. This accounts for up to two thirds of the total costs of a fuel cell system. "Through industrialization and the spread of technology on the market, Bosch will achieve economies of scale and reduce costs," says Stefan Hartung, Managing Director and Chairman of Bosch’s Mobility Solutions Division.

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