Daimler Truck Establishes Fuel Cell Company

By Mike Brezonick08 June 2020

Daimler Truck AG announced it is establishing a new company intended to bring all of the Daimler Group’s fuel cell activities into a single entity. Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co. KG, will be led by Dr. Andreas Gorbach and Prof. Dr. Christian Mohrdieck, who have been appointed as managing directors of the new company.

Both have extensive experience with conventional and alternative drive systems, especially fuel cell systems, Daimler said. Gorbach has already held a senior management position with overall responsibility for all fuel cell matters at Daimler Truck AG since the beginning of May. This will continue in his new additional position as CEO of Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH. Mohrdieck has been in charge of fuel cell development at the Daimler Group since 2003 and is managing director of the current fuel cell development unit Mercedes-Benz Fuel Cell GmbH, which will be allocated to the new subsidiary.

Daimler Truck AG concluded a preliminary, non-binding agreement with Volvo Group in April of this year to establish a new joint venture for the development, production and commercialization of fuel cell systems for heavy-duty commercial vehicles and other applications such as stationary use. Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co. KG will later transition into this planned joint venture and Volvo Group will acquire 50% of the company for this purpose.

All potential transactions are subject to examination and approval by the responsible competition authorities. Daimler Truck AG and Volvo Group plan to start series production of heavy-duty fuel cell commercial vehicles for demanding and heavy long-distance haulage in the second half of the decade.

“The fuel cell is a crucial CO2-neutral solution for trucks in heavy long-distance transport,” said Martin Daum, chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler Truck AG and member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG. “We and our future joint venture partner, Volvo Group, are convinced of this. We are determined to jointly tackle the development and series production of fuel cells and are now taking major steps with all the necessary preparations for the planned joint venture.

“The establishment of Daimler Truck Fuel Cell GmbH & Co. KG is a very special milestone for our company because our new subsidiary is to be the immediate predecessor organization of the joint venture. In it, we will now bring together the great expertise and enormous wealth of experience from several decades of development work on fuel cells at Daimler – and combine it with the right know-how in connection with trucks.”

Prior to his new position, Gorbach was head of product management for the global generations of engines and axles at Daimler Trucks. In addition, he was responsible there for climate protection and air quality within the context of the sustainability strategy. Gorbach joined Daimler Trucks in 2005 in the powertrain development department. He held various management positions in the following years, including head of development for the global engine platforms.

Mohrdieck began his career in 1989 in research at Daimler-Benz AG in Frankfurt. In 1995, he was made head of the Board of Management office for research and technology in Stuttgart. From 1999 onwards, Mohrdieck was responsible for the fuel cell systems department at DaimlerChrysler Corp. in the United States. Back in Germany, he became head of the structural materials department of DaimlerChrysler research and in 2003 was appointed head of alternative energy and powertrain systems.

In 2005, Mohrdieck became head of the department for the development of fuel cell drive systems. As of 2006, he was also responsible for lithium-ion battery development at Daimler AG and in 2008 he became head of the fuel cell and battery-drive development department.

The cooperation planned between Daimler Truck AG and Rolls-Royce plc for stationary fuel cell systems demonstrates specific opportunities for the commercialization of fuel cell technology through the planned joint venture with Volvo Group, Daimler said. Rolls-Royce’s Power Systems division plans to use the fuel cell systems from the planned joint venture between Daimler Truck AG and Volvo Group and Daimler’s many years of expertise in this field for MTU power generation systems used at data centers. A comprehensive cooperation agreement is to be prepared and signed by the end of the year.

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