Ballard says deployment of 500 fuel-cell trucks in China will be largest ever

Agreement with Chinese company will see Ballard tech used for fuel-cell electric vehicles

Some of the 500 licensed and plated Dongfeng Special Vehicle box van trucks, powered by Ballard fuel cell stacks | submitted

Ballard Power Systems (TSX:BLDP) says the planned deployment of 500 commercial trucks using the company’s fuel cell technology is expected to be the largest in the world.

The Burnaby-based firm announced February 14 all 500 of the cube trucks have received so-called green license plates for operation as new energy vehicles in Shanghai, where they are expected to be used to deliver goods within the city’s limits

The fuel-cell electric engine was designed by Shanghai Reinventing Fire Technology Company Limited (Re-Fire) and features fuel cell stacks developed by Ballard.

The Chinese and Canadian firms have entered into an agreement whereby Re-Fire will use Ballard’s fuel-cell stacks for its engines.

Ballard’s Chinese joint-venture partner, Guangdong Synergy Ballard Hydrogen Power Co., Ltd, is manufacturing the stacks.

“We believe this is the largest planned deployment of fuel cell-powered trucks anywhere in the world,” CEO Randy MacEwen said in a statement.

All 500 trucks are expected to be deployed within the year.

Ballard was under fire in January following a report from Spruce Point Capital Management that concluded the company’s stock price gains in 2017 were mostly unwarranted.

The short-seller report cautioned the market in China is likely overhyped and Ballard’s joint ventures within the country amount to “weak partnerships.”

Ballard shot back against the report days latter, forecasting record annual revenue of about $120 million in the 2017 fiscal year.

The company also pointed out a number of factual errors within the report, notably that one of its joint ventures produced 1,145 fuel stacks since September as opposed to a few hundred as described by Spruce Point Capital Management.

The initial report caused Ballard’s share prices to fall 22% but the company’s response erased those losses.

Ballard share prices jumped 9% following the announcement of the 500-truck deployment.