Canadian fuel cell maker gets stock boost from U.S.

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VANCOUVER, B.C. — Ballard Power Systems Shares lurched 17 per cent on news of a new U.S. energy scheme that encourages alternative energy sources for vehicles.

Part of the plan includes US$10 billion in tax credits over the next 10 years, President George W. Bush told media, $4 billion of which is to help spur sales of both hybrid gas-electric vehicles and those powered by fuel cells developed by Vancouver’s Ballard.

If adopted, the proposal would establish a temporary income tax credit available between 2002 and 2007 for sales of high tech vehicles — lowering the costs of reduced emission vehicles to the consumer.

“It will have a very positive impact on us,” says Paul Lancaster, Ballard’s vice-president of finance. “Anything that recognizes support for better technologies for more efficient use of fuels is supportive for everybody in the fuel cell industry.”

On the TSE, Ballard’s shares rose $12.80 to close at Cdn$88.50, up 17 per cent. In the past year, Ballard’s shares have been as high as $179.75. The company’s fuel-cell technology combines hydrogen and oxygen without combustion to generate electricity. Earlier this year, Ballard signed an agreement with DaimlerChrysler to install its fuel cell systems in buses for the European market.

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