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Intelligent Energy, Suzuki form joint venture to produce fuel cell systems

UK-based Intelligent Energy and the Suzuki Motor Corporation in Japan are establishing a joint venture company, to develop and manufacture air-cooled PEM fuel cell systems for a range of industry sectors.

The joint venture company, SMILE FC System Corporation, will accelerate deployment of fuel cells for the next generation of eco-friendly fuel cell vehicles in particular.

Intelligent Energy and Suzuki will each hold a 50 percent stake in SMILE FC System Corporation, which will be headquartered in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka, with operations initially based in Yokohama.

SMILE FC System Corporation will be led by Mr Osamu Honda, Executive Vice President and representative director for Suzuki Motor Corporation, who will become its President.

The Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter – a collaboration between the two companies – was unveiled in late 2009, and made its European debut soon after in London, ahead of initial fleet tests in the UK.

In 2011 the Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter became the world’s first fuel cell vehicle to achieve European Union Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA).

The joint venture also includes a non-exclusive license agreement that gives Suzuki access to Intelligent Energy’s class-leading hydrogen PEM fuel cell technology for its next generation of environmentally friendly fuel cell vehicles.

The agreement gives 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.

In turn 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.

‘This non-exclusive agreement with the Suzuki Motor Corporation also provides further validation of our ‘design once, deploy many times’ proprietary technology and mutually beneficial partnering business model,’ says Dr Henri Winand, CEO of Intelligent Energy.

Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell technologies are designed for mass market products in the global motive, stationary power, and consumer electronics sectors. The company is a founding member of the recently launched UKH2Mobility initiative to push the rollout of hydrogen powered travel in the UK.


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