Faurecia/Michelin join forces to develop hydrogen fuel cells

French tyre maker Michelin and automotive parts supplier Faurecia have set up a joint venture bringing together all of Michelin’s fuel cell related activities – including its subsidiary Symbio – with those of Faurecia. Both Michelin and Faurecia will have equal stakes in the new joint venture company called Symbio, which will deal with the development, production and marketing of hydrogen fuel cell systems meant for light vehicles, utility vehicles, trucks, and other applications.

Faurecia and Michelin say they are convinced of the importance of hydrogen technology in tomorrow’s world of zero emissions mobility and of the need to create a strong French and European hydrogen industrial sector. The two companies aim to create a world leader in hydrogen fuel cell systems through combining existing and complementary assets from both partners in the joint-venture. They say this will enable the joint venture to immediately offer a unique range of hydrogen fuel cell systems for all use cases.

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

Michelin’s contribution to this joint venture will be the activities of Symbio – a group subsidiary since 1 February 2019 and a supplier of hydrogen fuel cell systems associated with a range of digital services – as well as R&D and production activities.

Faurecia will contribute the technological fuel cell expertise it has developed through a strategic partnership with the CEA, its industrial know-how and its strategic relationships with car manufacturers. Faurecia will continue its development of high-pressure hydrogen tanks in partnership with Stelia Aerospace Composites, which will also benefit the joint venture.

The cooperation between Michelin and ENGIE, a global energy and services group, for the development of a hydrogen ecosystem, in particular in the field of hydrogen mobility, will also benefit the joint venture.

This operation is subject to the approval of the competent merger authorities.

Commenting on the joint venture, General Managing Partner and future President of the Michelin Group, Florent Menegaux, explained, “This innovative partnership will facilitate the emergence and development of hydrogen mobility; it opens the way to a new form of sustainable mobility.”