23 Apr 2021, 12:53
Sören Amelang

Car supplier Bosch invests one billion euros in fuel cell development

Handelsblatt / Financial Times

In contrast to a growing number of truckmakers, car parts supplier Bosch bets heavily on hydrogen fuel cell trucks, reports Martin Buchenau in Handelsblatt. The company said it will invest one billion euros in fuel cell technology by 2024, as well as 600 million euros in the mobility sector. Bosch CEO Volkmar Denner said the advantages of the fuel cell are particularly obvious in heavy duty vehicles, adding that his company plans to bring down the technology's high investment costs with serial production. "The heavier the vehicles, the more we will rely on regenerative fuels," Denner said. Only last week, Bosch entered into cooperation on fuel cells with China’s Quingling Motors "to develop, assemble and market fuel cell systems for the Chinese market."

Denner hit out at the EU for being "fixated" on electric vehicles, reports Joe Miller in the Financial Times. “Climate action is not about the end of the internal combustion engine,” he said. “It’s about the end of fossil fuels." Board member Stefan Hartung told reporters that the company “will continue to invest in combustion engine technology for at least another 20-30 years.”

Bosch says it will spend 400 million euros on the development of fuel cells for stationary applications, according to Handelsblatt. The company plans to open 100 small-scale fuel cell power stations this year, which will generate electricity for data centres, industrial firms and residential neighbourhoods. At the same time, Bosch is speeding up the shift to electric engines, which is turning into the cornerstone of the company's propulsion division with growth rates of almost 40 percent, Denner said. He added that the division will turn profitable in 2024, with sales increasing five-fold to about five billion euros in 2025.

Truckmakers and experts are at odds over the question whether fuel cells will power trucks in large numbers in the future. While Daimler and Volvo have joined forces to develop such vehicles, the VW Group and an increasing number of other manufacturers believe that most trucks will go battery electric.

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