The investment will create at least 350 jobs by the start of production in 2026. The fuel cell stacks produced will drive hydrogen-powered trucks coming to the roads of the US in the next few years.
Mike Mansuetti, president of Bosch in North America, said, “The hydrogen economy holds great promise and at Bosch we are all in. 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.”
The development of the new production process in Anderson was supported locally with assistance from the state of South Carolina as well as Anderson County.
South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster, said, “Helping Bosch to be among the first to commercialise fuel cell stack production in the U.S. speaks to the strength of our manufacturing industry and workforce.”
The Bosch Anderson facility has already begun work on the expansion to support fuel cell technology. Capital upgrades to the Anderson campus include an estimated 147,000 sq ft of floorspace to be developed to manufacture the fuel cell stack as well as supporting clean room and climate-controlled environments required for quality-critical processes.
South Carolina Secretary of Commerce Harry M. Lightsey III, said, “Fuel cells have been a promising technology for many years, and it is fitting that this technology is coming to South Carolina where our manufacturing strength has helped many companies bring new innovations to the market.”
The company recently announced it would invest more than $1bn globally to develop mobile fuel cell technologies by 2024.
Mobile fuel cell technology presents a viable option for climate-neutral transportation of goods in Class 8 vehicles where battery electric alone still presents challenges due to battery size and weight.
A fuel cell operates by using hydrogen to generate electrical energy, and enable the all-electric operation of large vehicles for long trips.
Fuel cell stack production is highly complex. One stack consists of 3,200 individual parts assembled, more than 400 layers and more than 100 unique components. Fuel cell stack production in Anderson will expand on Bosch’s existing global production for fuel cell stacks, including critical sub-components.
Bosch has a long presence in Anderson, where it started producing fuel rails in 1985. Its operations have expanded to multiple products within the Bosch Mobility Solutions business sector, including sensors and electronic control units for the powertrain.
Mansuetti said in order to successfully bring fuel cell technology to market in mass scale, it requires a combination of extensive experience in research and development, systems integration and complex manufacturing process.
He added, “The work we have already done in commercialising fuel cell technology builds on our extensive experience in developing and manufacturing products for the internal combustion engine at scale.”