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Mercedes-Benz's Thursday announcement that it will build a fuel-cell plant in Burnaby, B.C., will create new jobs and solidify the province's status as Canada's fuel-cell technology innovation capital, Premier Christy Clark said.

Mercedes-Benz's Thursday announcement that it will build a fuel-cell plant in Burnaby, B.C., will create new jobs and solidify the province's status as Canada's fuel-cell technology innovation capital, Premier Christy Clark said. ( 3/17/2011 )

VANCOUVER - Mercedes-Benz's Thursday announcement that it will build a fuel-cell plant in Burnaby, B.C., will create new jobs and solidify the province's status as Canada's fuel-cell technology innovation capital, Premier Christy Clark said.

"A $50-million investment means a lot of jobs," Clark said in Vancouver, adding that by 2016, global sales for the hydrogen fuel cell sector were estimated at $8.5 billion.

The German auto giant has promised to hire Canadians to run the business, sending in experts to transfer the relevant technology.

Company officials were vague on the number of jobs that would be created, only saying it would be in the "double digits."

Mercedes-Benz said it chose B.C. because of its "visionary government," "unparalleled expertise" and green-oriented community.

The 2,000-square-metre North Fraser Way plant, considered the first of its kind worldwide, should be operational by 2013.

Mercedes-Benz hopes to commercially produce fuel-cell vehicles in 2016.

Current battery-powered electric cars require long and frequent recharging stops. In contrast, the 3-B F-Cell can cover a distance of up 400 kilometres and be refuelled in three minutes. Its top speed is 170 km/h, and it has a driving performance equal to cars with a two-litre gas engine.

The fuel cells will be shipped to Germany and installed into vehicles like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class or E-Class.

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