October 5, 2022

Bosch invests $200 million in fuel cell production in the United States

German automotive supplier Robert Bosch will invest more than $200 million and create up to 350 jobs to expand a plant in Anderson, South Carolina, to build hydrogen fuel cells for heavy-duty truck manufacturers in from 2026.

Bosch is currently supplying fuel cell technology to start-up Nikola, which plans to start production of its fuel cell electric Tre cabover truck in 2023. It plans a fuel cell sleeper cab for longer trips later. . Nikola licensed Bosch Technology to assemble its own fuel cell modules at its factory in Coolidge, Arizona.

Nikola has completed a fuel cell truck pilot project with Anheuser-Busch in California. Prototype Tre models have traveled over 12,000 miles and carried 2 million pounds of cargo. Nikola is currently testing prototype fuel cell trucks with Total Transportation Services Inc.

“To successfully commercialize fuel cell technology at scale, it requires a combination of extensive experience in research and development, systems integration and complex manufacturing processes,” said Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America, in a press release. . Mansuetti is also a member of Nikola’s board of directors.

Bosch declined to identify other customers by name.

Adding weight to the hydrogen fuel cell story

Bosch’s announcement adds weight to the story of hydrogen and fuel cells for Class 8 long-haul transportation. Fuel cells are increasingly being considered by fleets that anticipate zero tailpipe emissions.

The money included in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act for hydrogen vehicles and infrastructure is also helpful.

General Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. are also building fuel cells in the United States. GM has a joint venture with Honda Motor Co. south of Detroit. Toyota Motor North America is adding a dedicated production line for heavy-duty fuel cell modules to its Kentucky assembly complex starting in 2023. Toyota manufactures the fuel cells in Japan.

Engine maker Cummins Inc. is also ramping up its fuel cell trucking efforts. It will supply fuel cell equipment to Daimler Truck North America in 2024 and produce a hydrogen-powered version of its 15-liter internal combustion engine in 2027.

South Carolina is already building complex electrical components

Bosch Anderson factory expands to support fuel cell technology. Capital upgrades include approximately 147,000 square feet of floor space for fuel cell manufacturing and a dust and contaminant free clean room and temperature controlled environments to ensure quality.

Bosch began producing fuel rails in South Carolina in 1985. Its business expanded to sensors and electronic control units for the powertrain.

“Over the years, Anderson’s associates have developed expertise in electronics and sensor production, skills highly applicable to the fuel cell,” Mansuetti said.

A fuel cell uses hydrogen to generate electrical energy. As hydrogen ions pass over the fuel cell plates, they combine with oxygen to create electricity. The only by-product is water, allowing the vehicle to operate without exhaust emissions. Hydrogen produced from renewable energies allows fuel cells to operate almost without carbon dioxide.

Bosch has committed to spending up to $1 billion from 2021 to 2024 on fuel cell technology.

Bosch to supply key components to Daimler-Volvo fuel cell joint venture

Toyota to Build Truck Fuel Cell Modules in Kentucky

Nikola licenses Bosch fuel cells for module assembly in Arizona

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