Daimler has been very involved with fuel-cell electric vehicle research and various prototypes since the early 1990s. And, the German giant has been public about the genesis of its technology, including early involvement with Canadian experts Ballard Power Systems, however the company still hasn’t launched a publicly available FCV.

Rear view, Toyota FCV Concept powertrain and chassis.

Rear view, Toyota FCV Concept powertrain and chassis.

With hydrogen power getting more general attention because of recent strong commitments from Japanese automakers like Honda and Toyota, Automotive News is reporting that Daimler will delay the launch of its first production fuel-cell vehicle until 2017.

According to Herbert Kohler, head of corporate research at Daimler, the company’s plan to launch an emissions-free FCV in the 2014-’15 timeline was pushed back because of a recent deal signed with Ford and Nissan to collaborate on fuel-cell systems. “[The jointly-developed system will] reduce costs due to higher volumes,” Kohler says. “All three partners would use the same components as much as possible. That’s why we are working towards the objective of 2017.”

Kohler also brushes off questions about whether he’s worried about Toyota entering the market in 2015, citing Daimler’s two decades of development and a fleet of 250 fuel-cell research vehicles starting in 2010.

In regards to eventual costs to consumers, Kohler says Daimler’s “goal is for the price of a fuel cell vehicle to be oriented to the price of the hybrid version of a comparable model.”

Automotive News