Ford Motor Co. has signed a three-year, $22-million deal with Ballard Power Systems of Canada for Ballard’s Mark 900 Series fuel cell power modules and related engineering and support services.

“This is the largest order for our fuel cells to date and represents Ford's commitment to deliver fuel cell vehicles,” said Firoz Rasul, Ballard’s chairman and CEO. “Ford is not only our strategic partner but also a customer that is assisting Ballard in preparing for the commercial launch of fuel cell vehicles.”

“We intend to launch our first commercial fuel cell vehicle in 2004 and this agreement with Ballard will enable us to achieve that goal,” said John Wallace, executive director of Ford’s alternate-power vehicle efforts. “Ballard is part of our team and we are confident in its ability to provide us with fuel cells that will meet our customers’ expectations.”

Ballard’s fuel cell technology combines hydrogen -- obtained from methanol, natural gas, petroleum or renewable sources -- and oxygen (from air) without combustion to generate electricity for vehicle propulsion. Ballard has supplied fuel cells to Honda, Nissan, Volkswagen, Yamaha, and others.