Intelligent Energy and Suzuki create fuel-cell joint venture

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Intelligent Energy and the Suzuki Motor Corporation have created SMILE FC System Corporation to develop and manufacture air-cooled fuel-cell systems.

According to a statement, the joint venture also includes a non-exclusive licence agreement that gives Suzuki access to Intelligent Energy’s fuel-cell technology for its next generation of fuel-cell vehicles.

Under the terms of the contract, both companies will take an equal stake in the joint venture, which will be headquartered in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka, with operations initially based in Yokohama.

The agreement gives Suzuki access to Intelligent Energy’s advanced fuel-cell technology through partnering and licensing.

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… 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 Burgman scooter became the world’s first fuel-cell vehicle to achieve European Union Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA).