Co-operate to dominate is the buzz word in automotive circles across the globe even as alliance after alliance is being hammered out in board rooms of automobile making giants across the planet. The latest such alliance is a collaboration between three big car making behemoths, Nissan, Ford and Daimler. These companies have come together to jointly develop fuel cell cars, dubbed to be the next big thing in the automotive world. Ford, Nissan and Daimler hope to have the first of the jointly developed fuel cell cars on roads as early as 2017.
An illustration of fuel cell car technology
The main mandate of this alliance is to accelerate development of fuel cell technology to put it into commercial use, at a price that actually makes economic sense for the car maker to invest into this technology while also resulting in a price that’s affordable enough for the car buyer so that he or she makes the leap from internal combustion power to fuel cell power. To make the fuel cell technology more affordable, the tripartite alliance between Ford, Nissan and Daimler will use a range of approaches. One such approach is joint development of the technology to drive down research costs.
Ford, Nissan and Daimler will take advantage of their global presence across many locations to simultaneously develop fuel cell technology. Also, the three car makers will work towards standardization of fuel cell technology in order to make joint manufacturing possible, another measure that is expected to drive down costs of fuel cells to make its adoption across cars economically feasible for the car makers and car buyers alike. Also, the tie up of major car makers like Ford-Nissan-Daimler and BMW-Toyota is expected to result in hydrogen dispensing stations getting a shot in the arm as such alliances indicate that car makers are very serious about putting fuel cell equipped mass market cars on the streets over the next half a decade.
What is fuel cell technology?
Fuel cell technology involves the use of hydrogen stored at high pressure, in a tank, to mix with oxygen in the air, under controlled conditions(in the fuel-cell) to produce electricity. This electricity will power an electric motor that will act as the major driving force of an automobile. So, hydrogen will power an electric motor in fuel cell cars, much like petrol or diesel powers the internal combustion engine. The by product of the fuel cell will be water, making fuel cell equipped automobiles one of the cleanest forms of propulsion.