Yesterday Mercedes-Benz Canada celebrated the completion and official grand opening of the world’s first automated automotive facility dedicated to the production and technology development of fuel cell stacks.
The 3,300-square meter building, located in Burnaby, B.C, represents a milestone on the road to a more sustainable future, and M-B says it further solidifies the leading role it and its parent company Daimler, will play in the commercialization of fuel cell technology.
The graduated testing and commissioning phase at the state-of-the-art facility is already well underway, and the first automated fuel cell stack was produced on June 7.
Following the optimization of processes, it is expected that full-series production will commence shortly. In addition, another important parallel mandate of the new location will be continued research that is focused on the development of future generations of fuel cell stacks.
The strategic decision to locate the manufacturing plant in Burnaby, BC, was announced last year to ensure close proximity to the fuel cell stack development at Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation (AFCC) and the industrial fuel cell cluster located in the Greater Vancouver Area. This concentration has developed due to the numerous related companies and the significant activities in the field of fuel cell technology at the various institutes and universities, creating a very positive technological environment and the required infrastructure necessary for the further development of fuel cell stacks.
“We are delighted that Mercedes-Benz has chosen British Columbia as its new home for fuel cell production. Their investment means jobs for B.C. families and potential for growth in our fuel cell development sector,” said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation. “Fuel cells will one day power cars around the world, and B.C.’s world-class innovators are going to work with Mercedes-Benz to achieve that vision.”
Tim A. Reuss, president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz Canada reiterated the company’s dedication to future fuel cell technology.
“A steadfast commitment to innovation has guided our brand since we first invented the automobile, and today we are extremely proud to mark a significant milestone that will help us continue to reinvent the automobile,” said Reuss. “Fuel cell technology represents a viable transportation solution for the future that will provide our customers a zero-local emission vehicle that does not require any compromise. The fuel cell was developed right here in British Columbia, and a forward-thinking approach combined with supportive governments have helped establish an ideal environment for its continued development. Our new facility brings together the development with the manufacturing for the first time, and represents a major step towards the commercialization of this game-changing technology.”