Ballard vehicles
Ballard’s Toyota electric fuel cell vehicle fleet. Source: Ballard

B.C.-based fuel cell leader Ballard and Guelph, Ont.-based auto parts giant Linamar are combining forces to make and sell fuel cell powertrain systems for Class 1 and Class 2 vehicles in North America and Europe

Ballard Power Systems and Linamar Corp. have announced a strategic partnership to develop and sell hydrogen fuel cell powertrains for use in light-duty vehicles, including passenger cars, SUVs, light trucks and commercial vans up to five tons in North America and Europe.

The collaboration is designed to take advantage of the increasing demand for zero-emission vehicles that can operate on long duty cycles without payload compromise and be refuelled rapidly, according to a press release from Ballard.

“The establishment of this partnership to commercialize solutions for light duty vehicles using [fuel cell] technology is transformative for the future of mobility and combines the global technology leadership of two great Canadian businesses,” said Linamar CEO Linda Hasenfratz.

The deal is a significant move in the cleantech market. Both Ballard and Linamar have a sizeable international presence, so together they represent a potentially formidable partnership in that arena. It’s also a strong endorsement from Linamar, a stalwart in the Canadian auto parts sector, of the potential for Ballard’s fuel cell technology in light-duty applications.

A joint vision

The partnership will initially focus on developing a fuel cell powertrain solution, with Ballard set to provide the fuel cell subsystem and Linamar the rolling chassis, tanks, enclosures, as well as final assembly. Upon successful testing of the platform, the joint venture will sell powertrains with fuel cell systems and an interchangeable rolling chassis for use in Class 1 and Class 2 vehicles.

“We are excited to form a strategic alliance with Linamar, a leading global manufacturer of
precision products and powertrain system solutions that is leaning into the future of zero-
emission mobility,” added Randy MacEwen, Ballard president and CEO.

“In addition to our existing joint working relationship on the recently announced UPS delivery vans trial in California, we now deepen our collaboration based on a joint vision to provide zero-emission fuel cell powertrains for light-duty vehicles, particularly those that require long range, extended duty cycle and rapid refuelling.”

Green transit experts predict winners, losers and “battleground” sectors in the hydrogen fuel cell race