09 May 2019


With the alliance German based manufacturer Bosch now has formed with Powercell Sweden AB, Bosch is entering the market for mobile fuel cells. Under the agreement, the two partners will work jointly to make the polymer-electrolyte membrane (PEM) fuel cell ready for production.

Powercell is a Swedish manufacturer of fuel-cell stacks. The stack is the core of the fuel cell, it converts hydrogen into electrical energy and is the one crucial component in a fuel cell. The stack will complement the Bosch portfolio of fuel-cell components, and is to be launched in 2022 at the latest. Powercell stacks provide an output of up to 125 kilowatts. The company is headquartered in Göteborg, Sweden, and was spun off from the Volvo Group in 2008.

Over the long term, Bosch believes the mobile fuel-cell business is potentially worth billions of euros. It estimates that as much as 20 percent of all electric vehicles worldwide will be powered by fuel cells by 2030. Bosch sees the best opportunities for broad adoption of fuel-cell technology in the commercial-vehicle market. The EU’s fleet requirements for trucks call for a reduction of CO2 emissions by 15 percent on average by 2025, and 30 percent by 2030. Bosch’s view is that this target can only be reached by electrifying more and more of the powertrain and that the fuel cell can play a decisive role here. At Bosch they see the truck as a frontrunner in fuel-cell powertrains only then to be followed by passenger cars. But for this to happen, the cost of fuel-cell systems needs to be progressively reduced. The biggest cost item is the stack. It accounts for nearly two-thirds of the total cost of a fuel-cell system. According to Bosch, hydrogen which is now mainly produced for industrial applications, at a kilogram price frequently exceeds five euros. For 100 kilometres, a modern 40-ton truck requires seven to eight kilograms of hydrogen.

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