Hydrogen Powertrains on Volvo’s Fossil-Free Steel Agenda

Volvo has opened to door to using hydrogen fuel cells as its future powertrain source in a statement pledging to create vehicles made from fossil-fuel free steel.

The Swedish automaker, so far seen as a champion of BEV technology, has admitted its future vehicles could also be using hydrogen as an energy source. It has announced signing a collaboration agreement with steel manufacturer SSAB on research, development, serial production and commercialization of the world’s first vehicles to be made of fossil-free steel.

Volvo plans already this year to start the production of concept vehicles and components from steel made by SSAB using only hydrogen already in existence. Plans are for smaller-scale serial production to start during 2022 and for a gradual escalation towards mass production to follow. Both companies will also work together in research and development the best use of steel in products regarding weight and quality.

Fossil-free steel will be made by a completely new technology using fossil-free electricity and hydrogen. The steel industry considers that the need for steel will grow significantly in the long term and that newly made fossil-free steel will be needed to meet this demand. In the statement, Volvo said its “ambition is to use Volvo vehicles that are powered by batteries or fuel cells”. SSAB aims to start supplying the market with fossil-free steel at a commercial scale in 2026.

Martin Lundstedt, president and CEO at Volvo Group, said: “We are determined to be a climate-neutral company by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement. This means that our vehicles and machines will be emission-free when in operation but also that we will review the materials, like steel, used in our products and will gradually switch to fossil-free alternatives here as well. This is an important step on the road to completely climate-neutral transports.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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