Fuel cell developer Proton Power Systems has signed a joint venture agreement to establish a new company focussed on building heavy duty trucks powered by hydrogen (H2) fuel cells.

Hamburg-based Clean Logistics will be owned equally by Proton (33.33%), private holding company Höpen (33.33%) and modular transport service provider Hary. 

The joint venture will focus on the development, design, construction and sale of heavy duty trucks driven by emission free fuel cell hybrid systems.

The three companies have applied for financial aid from the federal programmes of alternative fuels and clean transportation to take the venutre through its prototype development stage during 2019 and is seeking additional funding to be used to support orders of up to 1,000 vehicles by the end of 2021.

Proton is providing its new Generation 4 fuel cell for inclusion in the trucks but does not have any material financial commitments to the joint venture.

Helmut Gierse, Chairman of Proton, said, “We are pleased with this venture. In 2016 alone, in excess of 300,000 trucks in the ‘over 5 tonnes’ weight category were produced in the European Union, which were nearly all powered by diesel fuel.”

“If even a small proportion of this market was converted to electric / fuel cell over the coming years, Clean Logistics will be able to benefit from it, and Proton’s current production facility could be fully utilised.”