China switches to fuel cells

PowerCell stacks at the Hannover Fair 2019.
PowerCell stacks at the Hannover Fair 2019.

This remark (“major new customers”) stuck particularly with me, because Ballard – although already on board with many top partners and large companies in research technology – expects further major new customers, according to CEO Randy MacEwen in the telephone conference on the occasion of the figures for the fourth quarter of 2018.

With all this know-how, this is not surprising, since Ballard is technologically ahead of the market. Ballard himself now has to raise money for the production venture with Weichai for LCS-Stacks, because they are setting up a production facility in China in which Ballard holds 49 percent. Although only small quantities are expected for 2019, the breakthrough in terms of volume is likely to take place in 2020.

Investors must be prepared for the fact that the year 2019 will first result in a capital outflow of more than US$ 20 million (investments) and that logical losses will result from this before the harvest (= orders, sales and earnings) from LCS production can accrue after 2020. New major customers, however, are creating course fantasies, as the focus is on research funds/projects, but also on the production of FC stacks. In my opinion, this will result in high-margin new business with good prospects.

So ABB’s order for a flagship and a ferry can be seen as an indication of where major orders are waving sooner or later. Even the receipt of an order for twenty FC stacks for buses in London from the Irish company Wrightbus is only a drop in the ocean for the time being. It has just started. Meanwhile, Ballard partner Van Hool plans to produce one FC bus per day soon. Since this would probably require two stacks each, this partner alone could purchase 600 stacks annually.

Bosch joins PowerCell

The report was explosive: Bosch enters into a license deal with the Swedish company PowerCell and transfers 50 million euros. For PowerCell, an accolade and, at the same time, a direction set by Bosch, which is now also increasingly focusing on the fuel cell. What does this possibly – pure theory – have to do with Ballard? PowerCell was selected as a partner/supplier by Nikola Motors, which will launch hydrogen-powered hybrid trucks (13,000 pre-orders, 400 H2 filling stations to be built with Nel Asa) from 2020 onwards. But who does Nikola rely on as a supplier?

read more in H2-international July 2019

Author: written by Sven Jösting, May 24, 2019

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