IAA Voices: Interview Ballard Power Systems

Picture: Powering medium- and heavy-duty trucks with Ballard fuel cell solutions, Adobe Stock

Picture: Powering medium- and heavy-duty trucks with Ballard fuel cell solutions, Adobe Stock

Ballard Power Systems’ vision is to deliver fuel cell power for a sustainable planet. Ballard zero-emission PEM fuel cells are enabling electrification of mobility, including buses, commercial trucks, trains, marine vessels, and stationary power.
Today, Ballard’s proven modular solutions are powering mid- and heavy-duty vehicles across multiple sectors. With more than 100 million kilometers and 30,000 hours in operation, its fuel cell technology is driving more than 2,200 trucks and 1,300 transit buses deployed across China, Europe and North America.

Nicolas Pocard, Vice President Strategy and Partnerships Ballard Power Systems, Picture: Ballard Power Systems Europe

How would you describe Ballard’s business and what should every IAA visitor know about the company?

Ballard’s core focus is to accelerate the adoption of fuel cells as a preferred zero-emission technology by removing barriers to adoption. Our zero-emission fuel cells modules are designed to address the specific power and performance requirements of heavy-duty transport, and are the longest serving fuel cell solution available – we power more than 3,600 buses and trucks globally, with more than 100 million kilometers of on-road real-world experience.

Today, emissions from heavy-duty transport – such as freight and logistics – are increasing at a faster rate than any other sector, and implementation-ready solutions for zero-emission trucks are now a key priority supported by governments worldwide.

For truck operators looking to decarbonize their fleets, the power and longer range of fuel cells are an attractive option without compromising on performance. However, efficient vehicle integration and hydrogen refuelling infrastructure are critical requirements for operators to make a seamless transition. A key strength of Ballard is that we collaborate with partners across the eco-system, including policy makers, supply chain, energy and infrastructure providers, to bring fuel cell vehicles faster to market.

What is the company's most important project for 2022/23?

This period is pivotal for Ballard on a global level in terms of technology development and market progression – with significant industry collaborations spanning a range of important geographies and transport segments.

In April, Ballard announced receipt of an industry-first Type Approval for the FCwave™ marine fuel cell module – and a month later, Anglo American unveiled a prototype of the world’s largest hydrogen-powered mining truck for operations at its platinum mining site in South Africa – integrating Ballard’s fuel cells to deliver up to 800kW of power to drive the 220t zero-emission haulage solution.

For trucks in particular, Ballard’s partnership with Quantron AG will see the introduction of a fuel cell heavy-duty truck on the roads during the second half of 2023. The 44t model, debuting at IAA TRANSPORTATION, incorporates Ballard’s new FCmove™-XD concept engine – powering a vehicle that offers a range of up to 700km, hydrogen storage capacity exceeding 50kg and a battery capacity of 120kW/h.

This first truck fronts a long-term joint development agreement which establishes Ballard as the exclusive fuel cell supplier for Quantron’s heavy-duty platforms. Looking ahead, our fuel cell products will be integrated into various Quantron truck applications for European and U.S. markets – including for last-mile delivery, tractor units and refuse collection vehicles.  

The newly designed IAA TRANSPORTATION is a platform and meeting place for transport and logistics companies from all over the world. What makes the trade fair so appealing to you?

We’re very excited to participate at IAA TRANSPORTATION 2022 in Hanover – this year is proving particularly interesting as alternative drivetrain technologies and hydrogen are taking centre stage. It is an established and globally recognised event that presents a fantastic opportunity to build on existing relationships with our business partners; and share the results of the collaborations with partners such as Quantron, MAHLE, Linamar, Weichai and Forsee Power. Most importantly, we will demonstrate the significant progress we’re making in the heavy-duty transport segment – which is driving our ambition to ensure that hydrogen-powered zero-emission trucks are on the road within the next 18 months.

Our principal aim is to accelerate the decarbonisation of transport and to offer the skills, expertise, and technology to deliver on the ambitious industry-wide CO2 emissions targets being set. IAA TRANSPORTATION offers the platform to raise awareness and visibility of these critical issues and supports the essential industry conversations that needs to take place to enable a seamless transition to a zero-emission future.

What can IAA visitors particularly look forward to at your stand?

Taking centre stage at our exhibit, we will preview a new concept engine that is developed especially for the demanding requirements of heavy-duty trucks. This will be the first showing of our new FCmove™-XD concept engine – integrated in Quantron’s new 44t fuel cell truck premiering at the show – as the first heavy-duty model to be built with proven Ballard fuel cell capability.

Also on display is the FCmove™-HD+ fuel cell module for mid-sized commercial vehicles. The 100kW fuel cell module has been designed to improve ease of vehicle integration, presenting a lighter, more compact module that significantly reduces the number of component parts of previous generations. This results in an anticipated 40% improvement in total lifecycle cost while delivering leading operating performance, high efficiency and wide operational range.

Extending Ballard’s FCmove™ range into the heavy-duty and long-haul truck segment, the new FCmove™-XD concept unit presented at IAA TRANSPORTATION is the first engine for our future fuel cell engine platform addressing the demanding requirements of the 19t and above segment. This is part of a multi-year development program with MAHLE to bring to market heavy-duty engines with outputs ranging from 180-360kW – which will offer the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO) solution for heavy-duty trucks.

The coming years are all about transformation. Where will the transport and logistics industry be in 2030 - and what milestones do you want to have achieved by then?

Ballard has been a pioneer and advocate for alternative fuel adoption for more than 40 years and we take pride in the inroads we’ve made across hard-to-abate market segments as major players in buses, trucks and marine are increasingly looking to fuel cells as a viable option to decarbonise operations.

The landscape will continue to evolve markedly over the next ten years as we fight the climate crisis. As the decade progresses, fossil fuel prices will continue to increase and, therefore, so will the adoption and use of renewable alternative low-carbon fuels to offset this.

In more established regions, companies with a strong ESG mandate, such as delivery companies and public transport, also know their customers increasingly want and expect a ‘clean‘ vehicle delivering their goods. These players have already made a strong commitment to significantly reduce their carbon footprint – the next step is to increase awareness of fuel cells as a zero-emission solution that can meet demanding duty cycle requirements.

We recognise the importance of helping clients and partners understand their decarbonisation options as well as the challenges that lie in operational efficiency and infrastructure challenges. We aim to be a trailblazer in this regard to ensure the adoption of hydrogen/fuel cell mobility is effective and successful, so that by 2030, fuel cell electric vehicles are considered a standard vehicle option in manufacturers‘ medium- and heavy-duty fleets the world over.



Nicolas Pocard, Vice President of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships, brings more than 20 years of experience in international business development and marketing to Ballard.

Among his strategy responsibilities, Nicolas looks after corporate market development, marketing activities, government relations, and strategic partnerships for Ballard.

Nicolas is also the Chair of the Board of the Canadian Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association (CHFCA) and board member of Forsee Power.