Stellantis Invests in Hydrogen JV Symbio

Stellantis’ buy-in enables Symbio to expand its development by capitalizing on the Franco-American auto company’s leadership in the European and American automotive markets.

Joseph Szczesny

January 4, 2023

3 Min Read
Symbio, a joint venture of Michelin and Faurecia, is showing its latest fuel-cell stack at CES.

Stellantis is buying into Symbio, a European joint venture created by Faurecia and Michelin, which hopes to become a leading supplier of systems using zero-emission hydrogen as fuel for cars and trucks.

“Symbio’s technical roadmap perfectly matches with Stellantis’ hydrogen roll-out plans in Europe and in the U.S.,” says Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares in a statement announcing the deal.

“This move will foster the speed of development to bring low-emission products to our customers, beyond traditional electric vehicles. We’re grateful to the teams at Faurecia, Michelin and Symbio for their commitment to innovation, excellence, and collaboration as we all work to achieve decarbonized mobility,” he adds.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Stellantis says it plans to take a “substantial stake” in Symbio, which since 2019 has emerged as a leader in zero-emission hydrogen mobility. The transaction is expected to close in the first part of 2023 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals.

Stellantis notes it is already a pioneer in hydrogen mobility having launched midsize vans powered by fuel cells in late 2021. The automaker’s “Dare Forward 2030” strategic plan includes expanding its hydrogen offering to large vans as early as 2024 in Europe and 2025 in the U.S. while further exploring opportunities for heavy-duty trucks.

“By the intention of acquiring a stake in Symbio, Stellantis confirms the robustness of Michelin and Faurecia’s approach to creating a global leader in zero-emission mobility. The new setup will accelerate and globalize Symbio’s growth to the benefit of its customers,” notes Patrick Koller, CEO of Faurecia, which is part of Forvia, the world’s seventh-largest automotive supplier, and combines Faurecia and Hella.

In 2019, Michelin and Faurecia set up Symbio as a joint venture company, utilizing fuel-cell technology belonging to Michelin and Faurecia’s expertise in developing high-pressure hydrogen storage tanks.

In October 2022, Symbio announced plans for its HyMotive project in France, which will increase its total production capacity in France to 100,000 systems per year by 2028 while generating 1,000 jobs.

Symbio’s latest fuel-cell stack is on display this week at CES in Las Vegas.

The buy-in by Stellantis enables Symbio to expand its development by capitalizing on the Franco-American auto company’s leadership in the European and American automotive markets, according to the joint announcement.

“With the ambition to be a world leader in hydrogen mobility, we have invested over €160 million ($169 million) in R&D, manufacturing, strategic partnerships, and acquisitions over the past three years,” the statement adds.

“With cost-competitiveness and weight in mind, we are developing the next generations of hydrogen storage systems for commercial and light vehicles, heavy-duty trucks, and industrial applications. Our production capacity stands today at 10,000 tanks per year. We aim to expand this exponentially between now and 2025 to 100,000 tanks per year across three sites: a high-capacity site in France, another site also in France dedicated to low-volume programs, and a plant in Asia to better serve this key market for hydrogen mobility,” according to Symbio.

Florent Menegaux, CEO of Michelin, says, “Michelin is convinced that hydrogen fuel-cell technology will make an effective contribution to decarbonizing mobility and even beyond. This is what led Michelin to pioneer in this technology for more than 20 years. The arrival of Stellantis in Symbio’s capital would reinforce this conviction and would catalyze the tremendous industrial momentum we have built with Faurecia.”

For electric vehicles, fuel-cell technology complements battery technology, especially in cases requiring very intense use and greater autonomy. Furthermore, fuel-cell technology recently has been selected by the European Union as one of Europe’s six Important Projects of Common Interest.

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