Three automakers, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company, and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., have signed an agreement to jointly develop a common fuel cell electric vehicle (FCEV) system. Each company plans to invest equally toward the project. According to the companies, their strategy is to use this project to launch the world’s first affordable, mass-market fuel cell electric vehicle as early as 2017.

Executives from all three automakers said this collaborative effort will help bring this technology to market faster and that FCEVs are the next technological step after battery electric vehicles.

The automakers said they will jointly do engineering work on the fuel cell stack and overall system at several locations around the world, and that they are studying the joint development of other FCEV components. They also stated the collaboration will help define global specifications and component standards for FCEV technologies.

In addition to this announcement from the automakers mentioned here, BMW and Toyota also announced they plan to work together to develop FCEV technology.