Renault and fuel cell specialist Plug Power are joining up to develop hydrogen-powered commercial vehicles and refuelling systems.
The firms have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a 50-50 joint venture by the middle of 2021, and target a share of more than 30% of the European fuel cell-powered light commercial vehicle (LCV) market.
Integrated engineering teams will develop a fuel cell stack and system manufacturing centre in France, and the technology will initially be used in the Trafic and Master heavy van platforms.
The facility will also produce hydrogen refuelling systems.
Following fleet trials, Renault and Plug Power aim to begin sales of fuel cell LCVs in Europe this year.
Luca de Meo, CEO of Renault, said, “This joint-venture project is fully aligned with our strategy to offer market ready hydrogen solutions for LCVs. With Plug Power, we will build a unique end-to-end fuel cell value chain and offer turn-key solutions for customers including vehicles, refuelling stations and decarbonised hydrogen delivery.
“With this project, our ambition is to position France as a bridgehead of industrial, technical and commercial development in this key technology, and to strengthen our leadership in Europe as our objective is to become the European leader in fuel cell LCV”.
Andy Marsh, CEO of Plug Power, added, “Plug Power prides itself on being at the leading edge of innovation in the hydrogen fuel cell industry, which is why we are thrilled to partner with Groupe Renault to become a leader of market fuel cell heavy vans in Europe. We look forward to working with our new partners to combine our technology with their decades long experience leading the European automotive market.”