Ballard Power Systems has announced that automotive OEM Audi AG has issued purchase orders to accelerate certain key development activities, specifically concerning fuel cell technology, under the two companies’ current long-term technology solutions program.
According to Ballard, the current six-year engineering services contract with Volkswagen Group runs to March 2019, with an optional two-year extension beyond that date. The contract has an estimated value of $80 million to $112 million at the time of Ballard’s February 2015 release.
The company says the resulting HyMotion program encompasses automotive fuel cell stack development, in addition to system design support activities.
Volkswagen Group, which recently transferred responsibility of fuel cell development to its Audi luxury brand, is accelerating the timeline for series production. The acceleration in HyMotion program activities is focused on reconfiguration of the current fuel cell stack and in the development of a next-generation fuel cell stack.
Petra Hackenberg-Wiedl, head of the fuel cell office for Audi AG and Volkswagen Group, said the company expects its future to include electric powertrains, for both battery and fuel cell vehicles.
Randy MacEwen, Ballard’s president and CEO, stated that the “acceleration of the HyMotion program confirms Volkswagen Group’s commitment to fuel cell technology and its long-term partnership with Ballard,” noting that the company intends to continue supporting Volkswagen Group and Audi as it progresses toward its electrification targets.