Shares of Ballard Power (TSX:BLD) are up sharply today after the company announced it had signed a non-binding deal with Van Hool NV, Europe’s fourth largest bus manufacturer.
The companies will work together to respond to last week’s call for proposals under the European Union hydrogen fuel cell joint undertaking.
Vancouver-based Ballard Power has diversified its hydrogen fuel cell offerings in recent years, developing products for things like forklifts and telecom backup power. The company is also benefiting from a renewed interest in hydrogen as an energy source for vehicles.
Casual observers might be excused for believing that Ballard was out of the car business altogether, but the truth is the company was simply constrained by a five-year non-compete agreement. That agreement expired earlier this year and Ballard celebrated by announcing a four year deal with Volkswagen to to develop fuel cells in demonstration vehicles. That contract, said management, will be worth between $60-million to $100-million.
Public transportation is also a growing area for Ballard; it says that there will be 27 Van Hool fuel cell buses in public transit operation in Europe by next year.
At press time, shares of Ballard Power were up 23.8% to $1.87.