Swedish fuel cell technology developer PowerCell Sweden AB (PowerCell) has announced that it has received a follow-on order for PowerCell S2 fuel cell stacks from a Chinese supplier to the automotive industry. The order is worth SEK 1.3 million (≈ EUR 121 869) and will be delivered during the third quarter.
According to a statement, the customer develops and market products for the Chinese automotive industry and is a supplier to both the commercial vehicle and passenger car industry. The S2 stacks now on order will be integrated into fuel cell systems for use in vehicles by one of the supplier’s customers.
Despite the fact that China is home to some of the world’s largest manufacturers of batteries for electric vehicles, and also has the largest populations of battery electric vehicles in the world, China has decided to phase out government subsidies for battery electric vehicles and to introduce large subsidies for vehicles that are electrified with fuel cells.
Since the end of June 2019 when the subsidies were scrapped, the demand for electric vehicles in China has dropped substantially. According to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers, domestic sales of battery electric vehicles dropped by 80 000 in July, the first drop in global sales of electric vehicles since 2008.
China has tried to electrify its automotive fleet with battery technology but has concluded that it is not a viable option in a country where a large part of the population lives in apartment buildings in mega-cities. In addition to the problem of how to build enough charging stations, the Chinese have come to realize that grid capacity is a bottleneck when the total proportion of battery electric vehicles becomes too high. This is a development that the West will experience as well and that makes hydrogen and fuel cells the only long-term viable alternative for the needed electrification of the automotive sector, said Per Wassén, CEO of PowerCell Sweden.