Bosch will invest $200 million to build fuel cells for electric trucks in South Carolina

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The Robert Bosch GmbH logo sits on the exterior of Messe Stuttgart exhibition center as automobiles pass in Stuttgart, Germany, on Monday, July 18, 2016.
Michael Nagle | Bloomberg | Getty Images

German auto supplier Bosch said Wednesday it will invest more than $200 million to build fuel cells for electric trucks in South Carolina.

Bosch plans to expand an existing factory in Anderson, South Carolina, to build the fuel cell “stacks” starting in 2026. The investment is expected to create at least 350 new jobs at the factory, the company said.

Bosch’s North America president, Mike Mansuetti, said the company decided to invest in U.S. production to support “growing demand” from its automotive customers in North America.

“As our success in acquiring e-mobility business here in the region continues, it’s critical that we have local production capabilities to support our local customers,” Mansuetti said in a statement.

Fuel cells chemically convert the energy in hydrogen gas to electricity, emitting only water. While expensive to build, the devices are finding applications in large electric vehicles that would otherwise require excessively large and heavy battery packs, such as semitrucks, construction equipment and military vehicles.

The fuel cells built by Bosch in South Carolina will be used to power electric heavy trucks, including forthcoming models from Arizona-based EV truck startup Nikola, the company said.

Nikola has begun pilot testing of a fuel cell-powered version of its Tre electric semitruck, with about 500 miles of range. The company expects to begin production of the fuel cell-powered Tre by the end of next year, and to launch a second fuel cell truck with 900 miles of range in 2024.

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