cellcentric begins pilot production of fuel cell systems

cellcentric fuel cell production at Esslingen-Pliensauvorstadt production facility Pilot production is the next step toward supplying fuel cells on a large scale by the end of the decade. (Photo: cellcentric)

cellcentric, a joint venture between Daimler Truck AG and the Volvo Group to foster production of fuel cell systems for heavy-duty commercial vehicles, announced the inauguration of pilot production for fuel cell systems at the Esslingen-Pliensauvorstadt production facility in Esslingen, Germany. The milestone is the next step toward supplying fuel cells on a large scale by the end of the decade to support their predicted use in long-haul heavy-duty trucks.

According to the announcement, the company’s goal is to develop, produce and distribute fuel cell systems on a large scale in the German state of Baden-Wuerttemberg that “achieve the best possible total cost of ownership (TCO) in the highly competitive transportation industry.” In addition, it seeks to develop a full fuel cell ecosystem, from product to maintenance to recycling at the end of the fuel cell’s lifecycle.

“Fuel cell technology is a well-proven solution for CO2-neutral long-distance heavy-duty transportation. However, it has not yet been produced on an industrial scale, which is precisely the key to achieving economies of scale, optimizing the total cost of ownership (TCO) and putting cellcentric in a solid competitive position in the long term,” said Lars Johansson, chief commercial officer and chief organizational officer of cellcentric GmbH & Co. KG. “The opening of our pilot production facility in Esslingen today is not the end point of large-scale production, but rather the blueprint for the next step.

cellcentric's Esslingen-Pliensauvorstadt production facility. (Photo: cellcentric)

“In the coming years, we will continue to consistently drive forward the industrialization and scaling of production of fuel cell systems at the Weilheim site,” he added.

cellcentric plans to establish the necessary production processes at the Esslingen-Pliensauvorstadt facility to prepare large-scape fuel cell system production with a high degree of vertical integration. The site houses more than 100 employees and over 10,300 sq. m of production, logistics and office/administration space.

cellcentric noted that it is currently close to series production of the BZA150 fuel cell generation and a practical pilot product has been successfully tested by Daimler Truck and Volvo Group in field tests. Series production of the NextGen fuel cell system is scheduled to begin at the end of the decade.

Daimler Truck, Volvo complete “cellcentric” JV 50-50 venture to focus on fuel cell development and manufacturing.
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