Michelin acquires share in fuel cell firm

Fuel cell system specialist Symbio FCell reports that Michelin has taken a “significant minority stake” in its business. This acquisition was made as part of a capital increase, and Symbio FCell views Michelin as more than just a shareholder: “Michelin, by virtue of its considerable research and development in hydrogen fuel cells and sustainable mobility, brings value to this partnership,” wrote Symbio FCell in a statement on 6 May.

Symbio FCell’s successes include the integration of a fuel cell range extender into the Renault Kangoo ZE, the sales leader among commercial electrical utility vehicles. Approved for use in Europe, the fuel cell range extender equipped Kangoo is currently being tested by major commercial fleets’ operators such as La Poste (the French post office). The company says its share capital increase is an “important step in the development” of its strategy to advance this innovation towards industrialisation. Symbio FCell also opines that by acquiring a stake, the Michelin Group, and, in particular its Incubator Program Office (IPO) underlines the company’s overall innovation strategy. The IPO aims to accelerate the time to market for new innovations that are outside the Michelin Group’s traditional core business. With this investment, Symbio FCell facilitates the market deployment of technologies that have been in development at Michelin since 2003.

“This round of funding gives us the financial resources we need to proceed with the industrialisation of our solutions. With the arrival of the Michelin Group as a shareholder, we strengthen our technology leadership, our potential for innovation, as well as our credibility and our market presence,” said Fabio Ferrari, president of Symbio FCell. “We couldn’t have imagined a better partner for our industrial project.”

“By becoming a shareholder in Symbio FCell, Michelin will be in a position to have SymbioFCell benefit from technological experience in the field of fuel cell in favour of sustainable mobility,” added Prashant Prabhu, director of the Michelin Incubator Program Office. “Symbio FCell will acquire the means to furnish the products its customers expect while meeting the high quality standards of the automotive industry.”

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