Picture: Bosch/Martin Stollberg

Bosch has announced that it will invest more than $200million into its South Carolina factory to build fuel cell stacks that will power hydrogen powered electric commercial trucks in the United States. 

The South Carolina project is part of Bosch’s plan to invest more than $1 billion globally to develop fuel cell technologies by 2024.  

Capital upgrades to the campus will include dedicating about 147,000 square feet of floorspace to manufacture the fuel cell stack as well as support the clean room and climate-controlled environments required for quality-critical processes, the company said. 

Production of fuel cells at the facility is expected to begin in 2026. The German auto supplier said about 350 new jobs will be created. 

Bosch said its fuel cells will be used to power electric heavy trucks, including a version of Nikola’s Tre electric semi-truck that is expected to go into production by the end of 2023. Bosch, which invested at least $100 million in Nikola in 2019, said last year it would supply the company with hydrogen fuel cell modules. 

The company’s investment in fuel cells marks a wider range of movement in the industry to use the technology for heavy duty trucks and commercial vehicles.  

Although hydrogen fuel cells are considered expensive, they are also highly promising in Class 8 trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles as they are smaller and are lighter than battery packs.  

“The hydrogen economy holds great promise and at Bosch we are all in,” Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America, said in a statement.  

“This is a significant milestone as we announce the first fuel-cell related production for Bosch in the U.S. to support the growing demand from our local customers as part of a diverse approach to powertrain technology.”