Groupe Renault and global leader in fuel cell systems and hydrogen related services Plug Power Inc, announced the signature of a Memorandum Of Understanding to launch a 50-50 joint-venture based in France by the end of the first half of 2021. This strategic JV will position Groupe Renault and Plug Power to become key players in Europe in the research and development, transformation, manufacturing and sale of fuel cell-powered vehicles and hydrogen turn-key solutions in the coming years. This joint-venture platform will serve the fast-growing market of fuel cell light commercial vehicles, taxis, and commercial people transportation.
Bringing complementary and competitive strengths together, this joint venture will build on Groupe Renault’s pioneering experience in new energies and strong position in electric light commercial vehicles and on Plug Power’s 20 years of experience in fuel cell technologies and hydrogen solutions. A global leader in hydrogen ecosystem solutions, Plug Power has deployed over 40,000 fuel cell systems, designed and built 110 refueling stations that dispense more than 40 tons of hydrogen daily, and is a technology leader in green hydrogen solutions via electrolysis.
The company intends to offer unique, comprehensive, differentiated products and solutions to the LCV market, designed around 3 key pillars:
R&D: Groupe Renault and Plug Power intend to establish an Innovation Center 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 utilizing the Trafic and Master vehicle platforms. This center will be unique in combining 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 center in France for integration into LCV vehicle platforms. In addition, this manufacturing center will provide hydrogen refueling systems, a key part of the hydrogen ecosystem.
Sales: this partnership will create a hydrogen vehicle eco-system solution company that offers vehicles, hydrogen fueling stations, hydrogen fuel, and services to customers. This comprehensive solutions approach will accelerate adoption by commercial fleets.
The JV will start commercializing fuel cell LCV’s in Europe starting in 2021 with pilot fleet deployments.