Ballard Power Systems Inc. of Vancouver, together with DaimlerChrysler AG and Ford Motor Co., have announced an agreement whereby Ballard will acquire DaimlerChrysler’s XCELLSIS and Ford’s Ecostar Electric Drive Systems units.

XCELLSIS and Ecostar were inaugurated in 1998 as a vehicular fuel cell alliance between Ballard, DaimlerChrysler, and Ford. The acquisitions will give Ballard a range of fuel cell products, from components to power generators and fuel cell power trains. It will also commit the two automakers to Ballard as their fuel cell engine supplier.

XCELLSIS manufactures proton exchange membrane (PEM) fuel cell engines for vehicular applications and integrates fuel cell engines and electric drive trains to form fuel cell power trains. The technology has been demonstrated in both fuel cell-powered buses and cars. Presently, Ballard owns 26.7% of XCELLSIS; DaimlerChrysler and Ford own 51.5% and 21.8%, respectively.

Ecostar produces electric drive trains for use in electric-powered vehicles, and power conversion systems for fuel cells, microturbines, and internal combustion engines. Ecostar has developed electronics for use with stationary power generators run by fuel cells, microturbines, internal combustion engines, and renewable power. Currently, Ballard owns 20.9% of Ecostar; Ford and DaimlerChrysler own 62.1% and 17%, respectively.

Firoz Rasul, chairman and ceo of Ballard, noted, “Consolidating XCELLSIS and Ecostar into Ballard will make Ballard a stronger company with expanded markets, more products, greater capabilities, an unrivaled technology portfolio, and a formidable team, extending Ballard’s lead in the fuel cell industry.”

Commercial launch of Ballard fuel cell products is unchanged, with portable power products scheduled for later this year, transit bus engines in 2002, intermittent stationary products in 2003, and automotive products in 2003 to 2005.