We've been reporting on British Columbia-based Ballard Power Systems ever since AutoblogGreen got started, but the company hasn't been a big player in our pages for a while since it was focusing more on stationary power and larger vehicles. Turns out, shifting attention to slower, hydrogen fuel-cell powered vehicles should justify the company's rapid share-price growth

Ballard's surging stock has generated a fair share of debate among equity holders who wonder if the underlying business justifies the price, Bloomberg News reports. Ballard, which is set to report its first profitable quarter in its 21 years as a public company, has seen its share price quadruple from a year ago. What's interesting is that the stock is actually down 40 percent from a six-year high last month, but CEO John Sheridan is out there defending the company's value proposition. Sheridan tells Bloomberg that much of its future growth is based on selling its systems to makers of forklifts, buses and telecommunications towers. Rural communities that can use power sources that don't depend on the grid may also provide a future sales bump. Ballard's revenue has jumped about 40 percent in the past year. "Fifteen years ago, we were a one-track company," Sheridan said. "We were subsidizing R&D for the likes of Ford and Daimler and it didn't make sense."

We wrote in 2006 that it cut a deal with General Hydrogen to replace lead-acid batteries in electric forklifts with hydrogen fuel cells, which were said to work three times as long. Three years later, Ballard showed off its fuel-cell forklift at the Hydrogen + Fuel Cells 2009 conference in Vancouver, complete with a hoist of a lime-green cube consisting of a logo of the H2i campaign run by the Canadian Hydrogen Highway project.


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  • 13 Comments
      • 9 Months Ago
      Looks like more corruption in the fuel industree to me. Why don't they split the water in the vehicles? Ohh I forgot they want to charge us for hydrogen at fueling stations when we can split it for free using a solarpanel, batteree and alternator in the vehicle. Until they split water in the vehicles I wouldn't touch them as an investment.
        Jesse Gurr
        • 9 Months Ago
        Sorry Okeefe, meant to give a (-1) not a (+1). Didn't mean to give you false hope. Do you realize how much energy it takes to "split water in the vehicles"? Too much that it wouldn't make sense to do it on board.
        Joeviocoe
        • 9 Months Ago
        Well... you are waiting for perpetual motion. Solar panels would be the only 'input' of energy, but even if the car was covered in solar panels every square inch... the range would be only a few miles every day at best. Battery is storage only, and EVs and Hybrids already have this. Alternators are inefficient. Why not turn the drive motors into generators? Oh wait... EVs and Hybrids already do... it is called regen braking (and only works when the driver wants to slow down).
      Ryan
      • 9 Months Ago
      Yes it would be. But it has to compete against LNG, compressed natural gas, and propane.
      goodoldgorr
      • 9 Months Ago
      Should i buy buy ballard stock, im currently interrested to buy stocks that will grow and i have no clue as all the Financial websites that talk about stocks are full of ads asking money for recommended stocks and there is few freebies, why ? It's easy to recommend stocks because it push the price up so give free recommendations and you will win, it's logic and me i will help you to make money, it'S a win win. Car manufacturers prefer to build their own hydrogen fuelcell instead of buying them from ballard because they intend to sale a lot of them probably. I think that a fuelcell bus make sence over a battery bus because of short refueling time and also overheating of the battery, fuelcell can work hard with constant acceleration and frequent breaking. Battery in this situation tend to overheat or need costly cooling systems. Fuelcell have longevity and work hot. forklifts are also a new market that will continu to grow, it'S perfect compared to battery, less space, 100% running time, no battery left on shelfs. Is there a website with numerous free recommandation for stocks ? Till i invested 2 weeks ago i lost 2%. Now i think of solar panels for my next buying stock.
      Marco Polo
      • 9 Months Ago
      H2 fuel cells are becoming an increasingly popular alternative fuelling method for Forklifts. I should declare that I have a vested interest in the forklift market as I'm a substantial shareholder and director of a company selling Electric Forklifts. As our old friend Gorr points out, H2 forklifts do have some features that make the technology attractive. H2 forklifts require less refuelling, and in some applications that can be an advantage. The main competitor for HFC forklifts are LPG and gasoline/diesel units. However, the all-electric Forklift has has become far more sophisticated in recent years, and still possesses significant advantages. ESD capacity generally restricts electric to mid-size and smaller "warehouse" type applications. (Fortunately, the market for small forklifts is exclusively electric) . In the mid-size range, the contest between Electric and H2, LPG etc, has not resulted in the predicted dominance by HFC. Despite H2 units capturing a portion of the market, we have managed to increase our sales of all electric Electric by better marketing and packaging sales to include better utility incentives, govt. subsidised solar power, financing etc. But, HFCV technology certainly deserves consideration, especially for heavy vehicles.
      Spec
      • 9 Months Ago
      Correct me if I am wrong, but didn't Ballard completely abandon the mobile fuel cell market for a while? But I guess they got back into it for niche applications like forklifts and buses?
        Dave
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Spec
        "Ballard Sells Automotive Fuel-Cell Unit to Ford, Daimler By John O'Dell November 8, 2007 Ballard Power Systems says it has agreed to sell its automotive fuel cell operations to Ford Motor Co. and Daimler AG in an all-stock deal. But the Canadian fuel cell pioneer isn't getting completely out of the business. The deal, outlined on Ballard's web site, calls for Ford and Daimler to form a new company, Automotive Fuel Cell Cooperation, that will be based at Ballard's facility in British Columbia. And Ballard will pump $60 million in the new business in return for a 19.1 percent stake. Daimler will own 50.1 percent and Ford will hold 30 percent of the new company. The two automakers will pony up an additional $60 million in initial funding. Ballard wanted to shed direct responsibility for its automotive fuel cell business because it was draining about $15 million a year from the company's coffers with no prospect for profits anytime soon. Ballard executives don't see fuel–cell electric cars being a retail reality for quite some time and believed it was just too costly for their company to continue taking a lead role in research and development. Ballard will continue to manufacture fuel cells as a profit-making venture under contract to the new company. Ford and Daimler – parent of Mercedes-Benz – are heavily invested in fuel cell technology and believe that fuel cells remain one of the best bets to achieve the dual goal of freeing the auto industry from its dependence on oil and achieving zero emissions from passenger vehicles." http://www.edmunds.com/autoobserver-archive/2007/11/ballard-sells-automotive-fuel-cell-unit-to-ford-daimler.html
      Joeviocoe
      • 9 Months Ago
      Finding the proper niches, is the best economic plan.
      paulwesterberg
      • 9 Months Ago
      It sounds like their fuel cell is too heavy/expensive to be used in passenger vehicles.
        Spec
        • 9 Months Ago
        @paulwesterberg
        Or perhaps buses are a good thing because it is nice to eliminate smelly diesel in urban areas and since Buses just go on small defined routes, there is no need for widespread fueling infrastructure.
          Val
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Spec
          The efficiency of rail is offset by the higher costs of infrastructure and lack of flexibility. If rail is not in the plans from an early stage, it is very difficult and expensive to add it later. And even cities that have well developed rail transport systems have not completely eliminated buses.
          JB
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Spec
          Sound like light rail would do even better if you emphasize small defined routes. Rail is much more efficient than a rubber tire.
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