Siemens VDO Automotive is to acquire Ballard Power Systems' electric drive business located in Dearborn, Michigan. The unit develops and manufactures electric drive technology for fuel cell vehicles.

The should be completed in early 2007 and will include a research, development and manufacturing operation in Dearborn, affecting approximately 80 personnel.

"This acquisition elevates Siemens VDO's hybrid business to a new dimension, thereby securing a more competitive position for the company and its employees," said Siemens VDO group vice president Klaus Egger. "This acquisition will place us in a better position to capitalise on new business opportunities in the $14bn - by 2015 - global hybrid electric vehicle market."

Ballard Power System Dearborn-based employees will join Siemens VDO's Powertrain Electronics and Drivetrain division. Dearborn will serve as the organisations' North American expertise centre for the advancement of power electronics, motor design and systems for electrical drives for customer hybrid and fuel cell vehicle applications.