Canadian fuel cell maker Ballard Power Systems Inc has seen a massive spike in its share price – up 63 percent – after it announced that it agreed to hand over some of its patents and expand a service contract for $80 million – with the money coming from VW AG.
Ballard announced that the world’s second largest automaker and Europe’s biggest, Germany’s Volkswagen Group, agreed to purchase the automotive-related portion of the fuel cell patents the former had acquired from United Technologies Corp last April. More so, the existing four-year partnership between the two companies is extended by two years through March 2019 – with Ballard the designer and manufacturer of fuel cell stacks for Volkswagen’s demonstrations car program. The second biggest carmaker in the world has decided to diversify its investments into eco technologies, with a host of plug-in hybrids and battery-driven electric already on the roads. But the Germans also have eyes for the hydrogen powered fuel cell technology – which has been chosen by their larger competitor – Toyota.
The Burnaby, British Columbia-based company has been mulling for long the addition of clients for its high-margin backup-power unit designed for the automotive industry, and among its clients the Canadian firm already counts on Toyota and Belgian bus maker Van Hool. To support its other businesses, Ballard retained a royalty-free license for the patents it was handing to VW to use them in buses and other non-automotive applications, being among others a provider of fuel cell stacks for forklift trucks and buses.