The automakers say that together they have 60 years of experience developing fuel cell vehicles. Their test vehicles have traveled more than 6.2 million miles.
The alliance between Ford Motor Co., of Dearborn, Mich.; Daimler AG of Germany, maker of Mercedes vehicles; and the joint operations of France's Renault SA and Japan's Nissan Motor Co., is another example of global automakers combining forces to develop engines and other new technology. The companies are trying to share expensive development costs, yet keep their products different.
Nissan and Renault have had combined operations for years. Toyota Motor Corp. and BMW AG said earlier this month that they are working together on next-generation batteries for green vehicles called "lithium-air." Their collaboration, first announced in late 2011, also is working on fuel cells with hopes of completing a vehicle by 2020.
French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen and General Motors Co. of the U.S. have a deal to share in purchases of parts and services to cut costs. Toyota already has a joint venture with Peugeot Citroen to make small cars in Europe.