Renault and Plug Power have inked an MoU to launch a 50-50 joint-venture based in France by the end of the first half of 2021, targeting a more than 30% share of the fuel cell powered light commercial vehicle market in Europe.
The JV will establish innovation and manufacturing capabilities in France for hydrogen fuel cell systems and their integration in vehicles.
The partnership provides turn-key fuel cell vehicle solutions with hydrogen fuel, refuelling infrastructures and services. The joint-venture platform will serve the market for fuel cell light commercial vehicles, taxis and commercial people transportation.
Working in hydrogen ecosystem solutions, Plug Power has deployed more than 40,000 fuel cell systems, designed and built 110 refuelling stations that dispense more than 40 tons of hydrogen daily and operates in green hydrogen solutions via electrolysis.
The company intends to offer products and solutions to the LCV market, designed around three pillars:
- R&D: Groupe Renault and Plug Power intend to establish an Innovation Centre for the development of fuel cell technology and hydrogen fuel cell LCV vehicles based on existing and future Groupe Renault platforms. The initial focus will be on the heavy van segment using the Trafic and Master vehicle platforms. The centre will combine R&D efforts of fuel cell and vehicles with integrated engineering teams
- Manufacturing: the joint-venture will combine the vehicle manufacturing capabilities of Groupe Renault with the fuel cell and hydrogen system manufacturing knowledge of Plug Power, establishing a vertically integrated fuel cell stack and system manufacturing centre in France for integration into LCV vehicle platforms. In addition, the manufacturing centre will provide hydrogen refuelling systems, a key part of the hydrogen ecosystem
- Sales: this partnership will create a hydrogen vehicle eco-system solution company, which offers vehicles, hydrogen fuelling stations, hydrogen fuel and services to customers
The JV will start commercialising fuel cell LCV’s in Europe starting in 2021 with pilot fleet deployments.
“This joint-venture project is fully aligned with our strategy to offer market ready H2 solutions for LCVs,” said Renault CEO, Luca de Meo.
“With Plug Power, we will build a unique end-to-end fuel cell value chain and offer turnkey 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.”
Renault and Plug Power will provide the stand-alone joint-venture with the required resources to achieve its objectives. Finalisation of the joint venture project is pending on conditions normally applicable to this kind of operation, among which are the presentation to employee representative bodies in accordance with applicable regulations and potential clearance from relevant competition authorities.
This should be completed by the end of the first half of 2021.