Truck manufacturers Volvo Group and Daimler Truck announced today the launch of cellcentric, a new joint venture aiming to become a leading global manufacturer of fuel-cell systems, and to accelerate the use of hydrogen-based fuel cells for long-haul trucks and other applications.

According to the partners, cellcentric will build one of Europe’s largest planned series production of fuel-cell systems, with operation planned to commence in 2025. Customer tests of fuel-cell trucks are anticipated to begin in about three years, and series production of fuel-cell trucks is expected during the second half of this decade.

Additionally, Volvo and Daimler stated that they will call for a harmonized EU hydrogen policy framework to support the technology in becoming a viable commercial solution, including incentives for CO2-neutral technologies and a taxation system based on carbon and energy content. The companies are also part of an initiative by the major European truck manufacturers calling for the setup of around 300 high-performance hydrogen refuelling stations suitable for heavy-duty vehicles by 2025 and of around 1,000 hydrogen refuelling stations no later than 2030 in Europe.

Martin Lundstedt, CEO of Volvo Group, said:

“Our united ambition is to meet the targets in the Paris agreement of becoming CO2-neutral by 2050 at the latest. We are convinced that hydrogen fuel-cell technology plays an essential role in helping us reach that milestone. But we know there is so much more to achieve than just the electrification of machines and vehicles. There needs to be greater cooperation between public and private stakeholders to develop the necessary technology and infrastructure, which is why we are calling for united action from policymakers and governments around the world in helping us make hydrogen fuel-cell technology a success. Partnerships like cellcentric are vital to our commitment to decarbonizing road transport.”

According to Volvo and Daimler, purely battery-electric and hydrogen-based fuel-cell trucks will complement each other depending on the individual customer use case, with battery power used for lower cargo weights and for shorter distances, while fuel-cell power as the preferred option for heavier loads and longer distances.

Martin Daum, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG and Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, said:

“Hydrogen-powered fuel-cell electric trucks will be key for enabling CO2-neutral transportation in the future. In combination with pure battery-electric drives, it enables us to offer our customers the best genuinely locally CO2-neutral vehicle options, depending on the application. Battery-electric trucks alone will not make this possible. Together with our partner Volvo Group, we are therefore fully committed to our fuel-cell joint venture cellcentric and we are both pushing forward the development of the technology as well as the series production preparations. Regarding the necessary hydrogen infrastructure, it is clear that green hydrogen is the only sensible way forward in the long term.”