Ballard Power Systems said Audi had issued purchase orders to Ballard to accelerate key development activities under the current long-term technology solutions programme that Volkswagen Group has with Ballard.

As announced by Ballard in a February 2015 press release, 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 C$100-140m (aboutUS$80-112m at the time of Ballard's press release). The resulting HyMotion program encompasses automotive fuel cell stack development as well as system design support activities.

Volkswagen Group recently transferred responsibility for fuel cell development to the Audi brand and is also accelerating the timeline for series production. The acceleration in HyMotion programme activities is focused on reconfiguration of the current fuel cell stack and acceleration in the development of a next-generation fuel cell stack.

Petra Hackenberg-Wiedl, head of fuel cell office Audi and Volkswagen Group, said: "We see our future as including electric powertrains, both battery and fuel cell vehicles."

Randy MacEwen, Ballard pPresident and CEO said, "This acceleration of the HyMotion program confirms Volkswagen Group's commitment to fuel cell technology and its long-term partnership with Ballard. We are fully committed to the consistent delivery of programme goals and to the support of the group and Audi as it progresses toward its electrification targets with the world's leading fuel cell stacks."

Ballard added the HyMotion engineers and scientists are collaborating closely with Audi's experts and are on-track with respect to key technical and financial goals set for the current year.