Canada’s West Coast is now the hotbed of Mercedes-Benz’s fuel cell stacks as the luxury automaker commits to Canadian production of the next generation fuel cell drive systems.
The news, announced at an event in Vancouver on Thursday, means the automaker would begin construction of a 2,000-square metre facility in Burnaby to produce fuel cells. The plant is scheduled to be up and running in early 2012.
Following a graduated test and commissioning phase, the automaker says small-series production of next-generation fuel cell stacks will commence as of 2013.
In February 2008, the Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) in Burnaby, east of Vancouver, was founded as a joint venture between Daimler (50.1 per cent), Ford (30 per cent) and Ballard (19.9 per cent). This is where the fuel cell stack, now used in the current Mercedes-Benz B-Class F-CELL and the Citaro FuelCell Hybrid city bus, was developed.
The aim of this new operation is to cover the entire value chain, from materials research and development of a production technology for a large-scale production.
Since 2009, Mercedes-Benz produced the fuel cell powered B-Class F-CELL under large-scale production conditions currently being used by customers in Europe and the U.S.
This next generation fuel cell stack will also be suitable for use in sedans such as the Mercedes-Benz C-Class or E-Class
President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada, Marcus Breitschwerdt said he is delighted M-B Canada has the responsibility of producing fuel cell stacks.
“Our colleagues at AFCC have pioneered the development of fuel cell stacks in Canada and we are now extremely proud to be actively involved in the next very important chapters in establishing a small series production of fuel cell stacks.”