Intelligent Energy and the Suzuki Motor Corporation have today 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. The joint venture also includes a non-exclusive license agreement that gives Suzuki access to Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell technology for its next generation of environmentally friendly fuel cell vehicles.
Under the terms of the contract, both companies will take a 50% stake in the joint venture. SMILE FC System Corporation will be led by Mr Osamu Honda, executive vice president and representative director for Suzuki Motor Corporation, who will become president of the JV. SMILE FC System Corporation will be headquartered in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka, with operations initially based 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 Honda. “I believe that we can accelerate the commercialisation of fuel cell vehicles through this joint venture with Intelligent Energy.”
Phil Caldwell, newly appointed board member of SMILE FC System Corporation and business development director at Intelligent Energy commented, “This joint venture is the latest exciting development in the successful relationship between Intelligent Energy and Suzuki, which has previously resulted in the Crosscage motorcycle and the Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter. It is a big step towards the mass production of automotive fuel cell systems.”
Equipped with Intelligent Energy’s air cooled fuel cells, the Crosscage and Burgman motorcycles were exhibited at the 2007 and 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, and in 2011, the Fuel Cell Burgman Scooter became the world’s first fuel cell vehicle to achieve European Union Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA).
“Combining Intelligent Energy’s 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,” explained Dr Henri Winand, chief executive, Intelligent Energy. “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.”