Sumitomo Corp. will reportedly start selling fuel cells for commercial vehicles through a partnership with California-based manufacturer US Hybrid, according to a report.

US Hybrid provides electric and hybrid traction drive systems for medium and heavy duty commercial trucks, municipality vehicles, and fuel cell transit buses throughout the world.

The Nikkei news agency reports that Sumitomo is strengthening its automobile business and anticipated growth in the fuel cell market. The report said it plans to supply mostly Japanese commercial vehicle makers.

US Hybrid fuel cell range extender

In May, US Hybrid announced that it, Nissan, Argonne National Laboratory and National Grid, a utility fleet owner and operator, have been selected for a US$6m award from the US Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) to design and test a fuel cell range extender for utility vehicles based on Nissan's e-NV200 platform.

The three-year pilot program will include prototype design and testing, as well as an economic assessment of the marketability of this emerging transportation technology.

The fuel cell range extender vehicle is intended to provide a cost-effective extended zero emission operation. Additionally, fuel cell range extenders may help provide the needed cabin comfort and heating required for operation in cold climates such as the Northern United States, China, Canada, EU and Japan.