Ballard Power Systems has signed a 3.5-year extension to its current Technology Solutions contract with AUDI AG, extending the HyMotion programme to August 2022.

The aggregate value of the contract extension is expected to be CDN$80-130m ($62-100m). The programme will support Audi, part of the Volkswagan Group, through its small series production launch.

Ballard signed an initial four-year contract with Volkswagen AG in March 2013, followed by a two-year extension in February 2015, with the full six-year contract term running to March 2019. AUDI AG assumed leadership of the programme in 2016.

The HyMotion programme encompasses automotive fuel cell stack development as well as system design support activities. Ballard is focused on the design and manufacture of world-leading, next-generation fuel cell stacks for use in Audi’s demonstration car programme. Ballard engineers are leading critical areas of fuel cell product design – including the membrane electrode assembly (MEA), plate and stack components – along with certain testing and integration work.

Dr. Peter Mertens, Board Member for Technical Development at AUDI AG, said, “Our collaboration with Ballard has enabled the acceleration of our automotive fuel cell programme, by bringing together fuel cell skills and expertise in both organisations. We have developed demonstration cars using fuel cell technology and design from the HyMotion programme, and are working toward a small series production launch.”

Randy MacEwen, Ballard President and CEO, stated, “The long-term HyMotion programme is a testament to the commitment that Volkswagen Group and Audi have shown toward fuel cell electrification and their partnership with Ballard. Ballard is committed to supporting Volkswagen and Audi’s corporate fuel cell automotive goals and objectives. We believe the Ballard-designed fuel cell stacks integrated into Audi’s propulsion systems and vehicles will deliver outstanding automotive fuel cell performance, including highest power density, lightest weight, highest durability and robust freeze start capabilities.”

MacEwen added, “The automotive industry is undergoing extraordinary transformation, driven by electrification, shared mobility and autonomy. We believe shared mobility and autonomy will fundamentally change passenger car utilisation rates, with much longer daily range requirements and longer hours of operation. We expect fuel cell electrification to uniquely provide the passenger vehicle market with zero-emissions, low noise and smooth acceleration while also meeting long daily range and rapid refuelling requirements.”

Dr. Kevin Colbow, Ballard’s Vice-President of Technology and Product Development, commented, “Our highly experienced team of HyMotion engineers and scientists are collaborating closely with Audi’s fuel cell competence centre. We recently completed a series of regularly scheduled program update meetings with Audi in Germany and can confirm that we remain on-track with respect to our program goals.”

Concept cars representing multiple Volkswagen and Audi brand models, and utilising technology and components developed through the HyMotion programme with Ballard, have been unveiled at Detroit and LA Auto Shows over the past several years. This has included the Golf SportWagen HyMotion, Passat HyMotion and Audi A7 Sportback h-tron quattro.