Intelligent Energy, the global clean power systems company, and the 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. The joint venture also includes a non-exclusive license agreement that gives Suzuki access to Intelligent Energy's class-leading 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 percent 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 Mr. Honda. "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 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 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," 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."
Image: Osamu Honda, Executive Vice President of the Suzuki Motor Corporation (left), and Dr. Henri Winand, Chief Executive of Intelligent Energy (right), shortly after signing the agreement to create SMILE FC System Corporation.
Main Image: Intelligent Energy's Chief Executive Dr Henri Winand presents Suzuki Chairman and Chief Executive Osamu Suzuki with a commemorative plaque marking the formation of Smile FC System Corporation.
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