A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) has been signed by Ballard Power Systems and Forsee Power to form a strategic partnership for the development of fully integrated fuel cell and battery solutions that are optimized for performance, cost, and installation for heavy-duty hydrogen mobility applications.
In their partnership, Ballard and Forsee Power will work together to develop a fully integrated solution that will include fuel cells and battery systems that will be optimized to meet the needs of the targeted medium and heavy-duty mobility markets, which include bus, truck, rail, marine, and off-road transportation.
With this strategic agreement, the two companies will begin a long-term collaboration that will include co-design, co-development and manufacture of integrated fuel cell-battery systems, as well as marketing and sales of such solutions.
The Ballard and Forsee Power partnership, which brings together complementary technologies, customers, verticals, and markets, is expected to improve technological performance, reduce costs, extend service life, and reduce customer friction points by providing pre-integrated and optimized electric powertrain solutions.
The fuel cell module, battery system, and Energy Management System are all essential components of hydrogen electric powertrains (EMS). Powered by hydrogen stored in on-board tanks, the fuel cell module generates energy that is used to supply power to the vehicle’s electric motor. Batteries, which are charged by the power generated by the fuel cell, can provide additional energy when the load changes suddenly (acceleration or climbing a steep slope, for example). As a result, the fuel cell and battery systems are complimentary in that the vehicle may move using either the fuel cell or the battery, or both, depending on the vehicle duty cycle requirements. A dependable and intelligent EMS is essential for ensuring optimal performance and maximum efficiency amongst these components.
Ballard will offer the fuel cell system and associated controls for the intended integrated solution, while Forsee Power will supply the battery system and associated battery management system, as well as a cooling system and a high voltage DC/DC converter system. The parties will work together to build an energy management system (EMS) that will optimize the hybrid fuel cell and battery system architecture.
As part of the strategic engagement, Ballard is committed to participate as a cornerstone lead investor (up to €40 million) in conjunction with the anticipated initial public offering (IPO) of Forsee Capital Corporation. Following the completion of this commitment, Ballard would be able to purchase a share in Forsee Power following the company’s first public offering on Euronext in Paris, France, with Ballard having the option to select a director to the Forsee Power board of directors.
Ballard, a global leader with over 100 million kilometers traveled by more than 3,500 fuel cell electric buses and trucks, and Forsee Power, a global leader in batteries for light and heavy-duty electric vehicles, have both been supplying fuel cell modules and battery systems to the same verticals, as well as some of the same customers since 2016. The optimization of the fuel cell-battery powertrain, which will result in increased reliability, durability, efficiency, and cost, is a natural next step in the generation of value for the industry.
“A fundamental aspect of our business goal is to make the fuel cell electric car experience as simple as possible for OEM customers and end users,” stated Randy MacEwen, President and Chief Executive Officer of Ballard Power Systems. “Our overarching objective is to add greater value to our clients’ lives. We are trying to increase the performance of FCEV powertrains and vehicles, decrease their lifetime costs, and simplify the integration and service of powertrain and vehicle components, among other things. Fuel cells and batteries, we think, are extremely complimentary and can be combined together in a smart and attractive design that maximizes performance while reducing cost and complexity. Currently, OEM customers usually purchase the different components of the fuel cell and battery powertrains separately, and then must integrate them together after they have been delivered. By providing our clients with pre-designed, completely optimized, and fully integrated fuel cell-battery systems, we want to reduce the number of obstacles they face throughout the implementation process. Our exciting cooperation with Forsee Power represents a significant step forward in our efforts to attain our objective. We intend to work together to expedite the widespread deployment of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in heavy-duty transportation applications.”
“I am overjoyed to have signed this strategic Memorandum of Understanding with Ballard, with whom we share the same aspiration to produce sustainable, zero-emission transportation. This collaboration is intended to provide many critical strategic benefits, including technological know-how, industrial capacity, and geographic coverage, in order to exploit the expansion of the hydrogen vehicle industry in the near future. While the climate emergency requires the transportation sector to accelerate its energy transition, the advancement of hydrogen mobility will be a game changer, providing our OEM customers with a more comprehensive offering of zero-emission technologies for road, rail, and marine applications, among other things. I’d like to express my gratitude to Ballard for their confidence, which has shown itself in this important cornerstone investment as part of our first public offering “Christophe Gurtner, Chairman and CEO of Forsee Power, made the following statement: