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Mr. John Smith

Job title



For several decades, fossil fuelled ICE powertrains successfully met all requirements of the heavy-duty transport sector. Increasingly challenging emissions standards, clean air zones and fleet targets have forced vehicle manufacturers (OEMs) and operators to invest in alternative concepts. ICE hybridisation, alternative fuels, and platform electrification have incurred significant capital expenditure for OEMs but have, in return, delivered critical new skills, technology and processes. In parallel, fuel cell suppliers have delivered significant improvements in the performance of PEM fuel cells. Ballard Power Systems has demonstrated their benefits in more than 3600 heavy-duty vehicles, in comparison to alternative zero-emission powertrain solutions. Proving the technology’s maturity and robustnesss through more than 1.5m km of operation, Ballard have gained four decades of expertise in harnessing fuel cells’ operation in demanding, heavy-duty applications. Several manufacturers and operators, however, remain weary of the potential on-cost of another powertrain technology that may not offer the longevity of the fossil-fuelled ICE. Ballard’s latest study examines the benefits of technology commonality between OEMs existing high-voltage electric platforms and selected features from pre-existing low-carbon powertrain designs, to provide a minimal effort solution to fuel cell powertrain adoption: • An advanced white-box TCO model, supported by real-world data from operational heavy-vehicle fleets and live market insight, is developed to identify the segments most benefitting from fuel cell powertrain adoption and inflection points in operational costs compared to competing concepts, informed by visible policy and commodity forecasts to 2030. • Advanced energy system modelling and modular design approaches are presented as methods to maximise powertrain reliability and efficiency, whilst minimising fuel cell vehicle development cost impacts via commonality with existing thermal management, high-voltage distribution, energy storage, driveline and vehicle control subsystems, as well as compliance and homologation efforts. The approach is validated via commercial examples of recent fuel cell application in the heavy-duty mobility and transport sector

Mr. Daniel Lamb, Senior Concepts Engineer, Ballard Power Systems

Fuel cell powertrain adoption for heavy duty vehicles; Reducing cost and simplifying integration

FWC2023-SEL-008 • Sustainability, circular economy & LCA


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