A recent article in the Financial Post said China is accelerating its electric vehicle strategy with investments in B.C. clean energy firms.
British Columbia based companies have signed deals that hope to capitalise on China’s clean energy vehicle market
The contracts, which have been signed by B.C companies, show how China is investing in a future that envisions a shift from internal combustion energy vehicles to lower-emission, clean energy vehicles, the report said. The vast scale of those investments is enticing Canadian companies to strike partnerships and form joint ventures that send their technology across the Pacific Ocean.
Canadian mining companies, especially those dealing with developing lithium and cobalt deposits, have been working with investors in China, Japan and South Korea, to source the metals for use in batteries for electric vehicles, according to experts.
Other technologies that are finding takes in Asian markets include converting hydrogen into electricity, which can be used for transportation.
Climate change has been the motivating factor for countries trying to limit carbon emissions and use alternate clean energy fuel sources.
“China will be the largest hydrogen fuel cell market starting this year going forward,” Randy MacEwen CEO of Burnaby-based hydrogen fuel cell maker Ballard Power Systems Inc said.
One of the deals is by Ballard Power Systems and Weichai Power Co. Weichai, one of China’s largest diesel engine manufacturers, agreed to purchase $163 million worth of Ballard’s stock at a 15 per cent premium. As well as invest an additional $45 million to form a joint venture that will manufacture Ballard’s fuel cells at a plant in China, where they could end up in buses, commercial trucks and forklifts, the Financial Post reported.
Another deal also with China’s Weichai is by Vancouver-based Westport Fuel Systems which agreed to purchase its components and license its technology to build 18,000 natural gas engines by 2023. The deals show how China is investing in a future that envisions a shift from internal combustion energy vehicles to lower-emission, clean energy vehicles, the report said.
“We’re in the very early moments of a major global transformation of the transportation industry,” MacEwen told company shareholders on a conference call. “This transformation involves the move towards zero-emission vehicles.”
Weichai, which is 19 per cent owned by Shandong province, and also listed on the Hong Kong and Shenzen stock exchanges said that it has agreed to supply 2,000 fuel cells for commercial vehicles in China by 2021. B.C based companies will provide some part or all of that order.