DETROIT—Three top auto makers from each of the three major auto production regions are joining forces to help bring an affordable fuel cell vehicle to the market as early as 2017.
The Jan. 28 announcement by Ford Motor Co. of Dearborn, Mich., Daimler A.G. of Stuttgart, Germany, and Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. of Yokohama, Japan, calls for the firms to create a common fuel cell stack and system that would work in every major market.
The firms also would collaborate to encourage development of a hydrogen fueling station network.
Fuel cells use plastics extensively, from the film at the heart of every cell to connectors and housings. Hydrogen tanks on board every car typically are produced with thermoset composites.
The Ford, Daimler and Nissan announcement comes just days after BMW AG and Toyota Motor Corp. announced their own agreement to jointly develop fuel cell technology along with lightweight vehicles.
"Fuel cell electric vehicles are the obvious next step to complement today's battery electric vehicles as our industry embraces more sustainable transportation," said Mitsuhiko Yamashita, a member of the board of directors and executive vice president of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd., supervising research and development, in a news release.
The companies said the collaboration sends a "clear signal to suppliers, policy makers and the industry" of where the industry is heading so every player can begin to prepare for the expected growth of a fuel cell infrastructure.