Intelligent Energy and Suzuki Motor Corporation have announced the creation of a joint venture company, called SMILE FC System Corporation, to develop and manufacture air-cooled fuel cell systems for a range of industry sectors including automotive.
With both companies taking a 50% stake in the new business venture, the partnership also includes a non-exclusive license agreement that gives Suzuki access to Intelligent Energy’s leading fuel cell technology for its next generation of eco vehicles.
Led by Osamu Honda, Executive Vice President and representative Director for Suzuki Motor Corporation, the SMILE FC System Corporation will be based in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka, with operations initially located in Yokohama.
“Suzuki Motor Corporation has been developing fuel cell vehicles with Intelligent Energy since 2006, and this successful relationship has led to the formation of SMILE FC System Corporation,” explained Osama Honda, President of SMILE FC Stem Corporation. “I believe that we can accelerate the commercialisation of fuel cell vehicles through this joint venture with Intelligent Energy.”
The agreement represents good value for both parties, enabling Suzuki cost-effective access to Intelligent Energy’s advanced fuel cell technology through partnering and licensing, thereby avoiding the higher costs associated with in-house development. Intelligent Energy will benefit from Suzuki’s production expertise and the emerging Japanese supply chain to jointly develop the next generation of automotive standard air-cooled fuel cell systems.
Phil Caldwell, newly appointed Board Member of SMILE FC System Corporation and Business Development Director at Intelligent Energy said, “This joint venture is the latest exciting development in the successful relationship between Intelligent Energy and Suzuki, which previously resulted in the Crosscage motorcycle and the Suzuki Fuel Cell Scooter. It is a big step towards the mass production of automotive fuel cell systems.”
Incidentally, Intelligent Energy’s Suzuki Fuel Cell Scooter was shortlisted in SMMT’s 2011 Award for Automotive Innovation, a competition that is designed to recognise and celebrate UK automotive innovation across one of the world’s most diverse and dynamic industries.
Commenting on the new joint venture company, Dr Henri Winand, Intelligent Energy Chief Executive said, “Combining Intelligent Energy’s market-leading fuel cell system technology with Suzuki’s mass production capabilities and supply chain excellence will accelerate the deployment, long term scalability and applicability of fuel cells for the next generation of eco cars, and other market segments.”
To find out more and to register early interest in SMMT’s 2012 Award for Automotive Innovation, sponsored by GKN Driveline, visit www.smmt.co.uk/aai and sign up to receive regular updates.