Robert Bosch GmbH, the world’s largest auto-parts supplier, joined forces with fuel-cell stack maker Powercell Sweden AB, to advance the German company's fuel-cell products.
Hydrogen fuel cells have long been lauded for their potential to replace dirtier ways of generating electricity and for portability that could help resolve range-anxiety concerns with battery-powered cars.
The partners will co-develop polymer-electrolyte membrane fuel cells that Bosch will then manufacture under a global license. Bosch’s currrent lineup of fuel-cell products turn hydrogen into electricity. The new products will be launched “in 2022 at the latest,” according to Bosch.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology, which emits only water vapor, has struggled to gain traction -- mainly because of high cost, a lack of infrastructure and the complexity of storing hydrogen.
Bosch estimates that as much as 20 percent of electric vehicles worldwide will be powered by fuel cells by 2030.
Mercedes-Benz unit rolled out a fuel-cell version of its GLC SUV for fleet customers last year in a fresh push to refine the technology. Toyota Motor and Hyundai Motor have also been among the industry’s biggest fuel-cell backers.