It seems like another day another multinational tech giant investing another huge sum of money in the American South. This time it’s Bosch, which recently announced plans to invest $200 million in its Anderson, South Carolina plant to build hydrogen fuel cell batteries for Class 8 semi-trucks.
Work has already begun on the upgrade, which includes adding approximately 147,000 square feet of space to the already expansive facility, specifically designed for fuel cell manufacturing and related operations, according to a Bosch press release.
“The hydrogen economy has great promise, and at Bosch we’re all in it,” says Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch North America. “This is an important milestone as we announce Bosch’s first U.S. fuel cell manufacturing facility to support growing demand from our local customers for a diversified approach to powertrain technology.”
Investments in the South Carolina region are supported by local governments with financial assistance (think: tax incentives) from the state of South Carolina as well as Anderson County (where the plant is located). “Helping Bosch become one of the first to commercialize fuel cell manufacturing in the U.S. is a testament to the strength of our industry and workforce. We are grateful to Bosch for their commitment to our state and look forward to strengthening our partnership,” said South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, who conveniently forgot to mention the fact that South Carolina is the least unified state in the country — a status McMaster sought to maintain as a super-tough guy. , while actively fighting OSHA measures to keep his state’s workers safe.
But back to the hot topic of clean tech: Bosch has been in the hydrogen fuel cell business since at least 2019, when the company partnered with Powercell to develop fuel cell batteries for vehicles such as the Nikola electric semi-device. Bosch later withdrew from the partnership with Nikola as a result of SEC fraud charges against the company’s then-CEO, Trevor Milton.
However, a lot has changed since then – and the American semi-truck brand has begun supplying BEV versions of its Tre class 8 truck, while development of the off-road Two continues. Expansion in South Carolina, in theory, enhance the company’s ability to qualify for new federal and state incentive programs.
This is good because the production of fuel cells is incredibly complex. “To successfully bring fuel cell technology to market on a mass scale requires a combination of extensive expertise in research and development, systems integration and a complex manufacturing process,” said Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch North America. “Bosch is unique in its capabilities in all these areas. The work we have already done to commercialize fuel cell technology builds on our extensive experience in designing and manufacturing products for internal combustion engines at scale.”
Bosch plans to be one of the first on the market with large-scale production of HFCs, and this announcement follows another recent announcement invest more than USD 1 billion in the development of new fuel cell technologies by 2024.
Source | Pictures: Bosch.
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