If there was one thing that the Diesel Summit made abundantly clear, it was the lack of zero-emission, or even low-emission, cars on the German market. The 28 mayors who met with interim chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, Nov. 28, 2017, were faced with a dilemma. They would like to purchase electric buses and promote electric cabs, but there aren’t any on the market, at least in Germany.
As the then market leader, Ballard Power (Nasdaq: BLDP) determined soon after taking up its fuel cell activities that there was no way it could compete in the transportation sector. The upfront investment that such a move required was just too great. A decision was made to outsource these activities to AFCC, a Daimler-Ford joint venture
The Paris Motor Show seemingly went all-out electric: There hadn’t been so many electric vehicles at one single trade show for a long time. From Oct. 1 to 16, 2016, Opel showcased its Ampera-e (500-kilometer or close to 311-mile range; priced at EUR 39,000), the “currently hottest rod from Germany,” as car blogger Fabian Messner put it. Renault showed the Zoe with a large 41 kWh battery. And VW announced a battery storage unit for its e-Golf with an increased capacity.
During the NIP year-end conference by the German federal transportation ministry BMVI last Dec. 14 in Berlin, attendees seemed to be listening to a unique “success story”: EUR 700 million in incentives, almost 700 projects and around 500 industry partners for R&D and market preparation from 2006 through 2016. The program’s successes were presented by Germany’s transport minister, Alexander Dobrindt, and several managers of central NIP projects during two half days
Was that the signal so many had waited for? On Nov. 29, 2016, BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen announced the establishment of a joint venture in the electric transportation sector. They explained in a memorandum of understanding that they would join forces and equally share responsibilities for advocating the deployment of a “high-powered DC charging network for battery-electric vehicles covering long-distance travel routes in Europe.”
A capital increase again: around US$ 750 million going to Tesla. Whether this will help provide the cash needed to build the Gigafactory for batteries – which is said to cost up to US$ 5 billion – seems doubtful. The increase also left a bitter aftertaste, as Morgan Stanley was the underwriter (placed the shares) of the “spontaneous” capital increase and, at the same time, a new study
On the basis of the H2 Mobility initiative which was established in September 2009 – as previously announced – a joint venture has been initiated. At the end of 2014, the partners Air Liquide, Daimler, Linde, OMV, Shell and Total completed the final steps required to establish the company H2 Mobility Deutschland GmbH & Co. KG.