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Ballard signs deal with Ford for low-emission, commercial engine generators

Vancouver, BC -- March 12, 2002 -- Ballard Power Systems' electric drives and power conversion division has signed...


Vancouver, BC — March 12, 2002 — Ballard Power Systems’ electric drives and power conversion division has signed a joint development agreement with Ford Power Products (FPP), a subsidiary of Ford Motor Company, to jointly develop commercial power generation products.

Ballard and FPP, suppliers of engines, transmissions and components to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), will jointly develop products driven by spark-ignited combustion engines for the generator market. Other opportunities exist for on-road hybrid applications, such as commercial trucks and buses, where the powertrain provides power to electric drive motors, batteries and other equipment.

The main application for the Ballard/FPP powertrain is the electrical power generation market (i.e. generator sets). Most often, generator sets are used when power from the electrical distribution grid is not available. This new alternative in power generation has many advantages to the end-user, including increased power, lower costs per kilowatt and reduced emissions. These products will have a considerably lower environmental impact than today’s diesel powered generators and have the same or greater power output at a lower cost.

“Power conversion electronics are a key part of Ballard’s core fuel cell based products,” said Ross Witschonke, vice-president of Ballard’s electric drives and power conversion division. “By joining with Ford Power Products we are able to leverage our world-leading power conversion capabilities with Ford’s proven combustion engines to deliver cleaner, more efficient and more comprehensive customer solutions in today’s distributed and standby power generation markets.”

“We continue expanding the products and services we offer to these markets, giving our customers access to new technologies which will reduce their time to market, and significantly lower their engineering costs associated with developing power generation designs,” said Paul Moore, vice-president and general manager, FPP. “Ford Power Product’s intention is not to become a generator set manufacturer, rather a supplier of preferred components to this market.”

The initial products resulting from this joint agreement are expected by year-end 2002. The products will serve the prime power, standby power, and emergency power markets. Prime power is used where there is no connection to the electrical grid; standby power is used to reduce the amount of power drawn from the electrical grid; and emergency power is used when there is a failure in the electrical grid.

Since 1947, FPP, based in Dearborn, Mich., has been supplying Ford powertrains to the industrial, marine and on-road markets. Vancouver-based Ballard Power Systems develops, manufactures and markets zero-emission proton exchange membrane fuel cells.