Mercedes to open fuel cell plant in Burnaby image

German carmaker Mercedes-Benz is setting up a $50-million production plant in Burnaby to manufacture fuel-cell stacks to power electric vehicles.

The plant is expected to be in operation by 2013 and its production will be shipped to Germany for installation into a fleet of vehicles that will be assembled that year.

Fuel cell stacks are key components in Mercedes’ electric vehicles. Combined in series and parallel circuits, fuel cells are used toharness the electricity generated by the chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen.
Since 2009, Mercedes has been testing the technology on the B-Klasse F-Cell model, three versions of which are currently taking part in a show-and-tell trip around the world.
Premier Christy Clark who was sworn in earlier this week, spoke at a media conference Mercedes-Benz held to make the announcement.

“It means jobs, and jobs are how we sustain families,” said Clark.

“To consolidate our leading position in the field of alternative drive systems, we are ensuring direct access to the key technologies involved,” said Herbert Kohler, head of e-drive and future mobility for Mercedes.

“Following our systematic development of battery expertise together with Accumotive GmbH in Germany, this decision is a further, major step on the road to emission-free driving.”

Production at the two thousand square-meter complex at the Glenlyon Industrial Park is slated to start in two years, but no definite numbers have been set on how many jobs will be created.