Suzuki Forms Joint Venture for Developing Fuel Cell Technology

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Suzuki announced it is partnering with U.K.-based Intelligent Energy Holdings to form a joint venture for developing fuel cell systems.

The new joint venture, SMILE FC System Corporation, will work on developing fuel cell systems for both motorcycles and automobiles. Intelligent Energy, with its fuel cell expertise and Suzuki, with its mass production capabilities, will each have 50% share of SMILE FC.

“The joint venture will accelerate the number of our systems for mass manufacturing and it allows Suzuki to avoid the higher costs of in-house development,” Henri Winand, chief executive of Intelligent Energy, told Reuters.

Suzuki and Intelligent Energy Holdings have been working together for a while now, jointly developing the Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell, which received Whole Vehicle Type Approval from the European Union, allowing the scooter to be sold across all EU member states.

The two companies also collaborated to produce the Suzuki Crosscage concept which was unveiled at the 2007 Tokyo Motor Show.

The Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell runs on electricity produced by an air-cooled polymer-electrolyte fuel cell located under the passenger seat and a hydrogen tank located along the bottom of the scooter’s frame. The fuel cell generates electricity which charges a lithium-ion battery while producing water as its sole emission.

Suzuki claims a range of 217.5 miles at a constant speed of 18.6 mph from the Burgman Fuel Cell with a fully charged battery and a 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tank. The Suzuki Burgman Fuell Cell is expected to be enter full production by 2015.

SMILE FC will be headquartered within Suzuki’s home base in Hamamatsu City, Japan, with a research facility at Suzuki’s Yokohama Laboratory.

[Source: Suzuki; Reuters; photos by AutoGuide.com]

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