IN FOCUS: PRODUCT EVOLUTION AT BALLARD POWER SYSTEMSThe alphaDIRECT Insight
Ballard launched its new eighth generation heavy-duty fuel cell power module, part of its FCmoveTM family, in June this year, with the key objective being reduced product lifecycle cost, which is essential for commercialization and competitiveness of fuel cell electric vehicles, or FCEVs. In addition to reducing lifecycle cost, the new power module is also easier to integrate for vehicle OEMs. Ballard believes the new product received a great response when it was initially launched at the UITP 2019 Exhibition in Stockholm. We believe that Ballard’s unique mix of on-road experience and performance data on buses and trucks, along with technical innovation, are all reflected in the new FCmoveTM heavy duty power module. Lastly, Ballard estimates that there will be approximately 20,000 fuel cell commercial vehicles (buses and trucks) on the road by 2023, providing a significant revenue opportunity in our view.
Shawn Severson: First, I’d like to thank you, Nicolas, for taking the time to speak with us today. The last time that we spoke with Ballard, we reviewed the rapidly growing China market for fuel cell power solutions. Today our focus will be on product evolution. Before we get started, could you give us a brief introduction of yourself and what brought you to Ballard?
Nicolas Pocard: Of course, thank you, Shawn. I am the director of marketing for Ballard and I’m in charge of looking after our marketing strategy, understanding the evolution of our markets and working on future product requirements. I have actually been in the fuel cell industry for more than 15 years now, initially with Idatech and then eight years ago, following Ballard’s acquisition of Idatech, I became part of Ballard. It’s a very interesting field since fuel cell technology is aligned with my engineering degree and Masters studies that I undertook in the United States. Working for Ballard is incredible, especially at this time, when we see a growing interest in our technology.
Shawn Severson: Thank you for that, Nicolas. Before we discuss Ballard’s fuel cell product strategy, can you explain why you see fuel cell technology gaining traction in the marketplace and what’s providing the momentum?
Nicolas Pocard: The main thing is that there are strong global drivers for our technology. First of all, I think many cities now realize the impact of air pollution on health and they are really trying to address this pressing issue. However, they are also starting to look at reducing GHG or greenhouse gas emissions in order to mitigate the effects of climate change. Those are the driving forces toward clean transportation as part of the decarbonization of our economy. The focus on transportation is very important since it is responsible for around 25% of global GHG emissions. So, there is a really strong driver to electrify the transportation sector and move toward zero-emission vehicles globally.
Traction in the market is certainly indicated by major players in the transportation value chain recently making investments in the fuel cell industry, as well. This includes Weichai Power’s investment in Ballard, Bosch’s licensing deal with PowerCell and Cummins’ offer to acquire Hydrogenics.