Freudenberg strengthens position in fuel cells with acquisitions

May 16, 2018

XALT-EnergyGermany’s Freudenberg Sealing Technologies, a specialist in sealing technologies for the automotive industry, says it has strengthened its position in the energy and electric mobility sectors with an acquisition and a strategic investment this year.

“The successful development of markets and technologies depends on a core issue – energy – whether the work involves hybrids, vehicles with battery-powered electric motors or those using fuel cells as an energy source,” said Claus Möhlenkamp, CEO of Freudenberg Sealing Technologies,. “We have been doing research in this field for years within the Freudenberg Group. With the recent transactions, we now have extensive know-how and specific product and system solutions for the automotive and energy market segment for fuel cells and lithium ion batteries.”

In early 2018, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies acquired portions of the fuel cell manufacturer Elcore and its sister company Elcomax in Munich, Germany. Elcore was founded eight years ago as a highly innovation-driven startup. Its patents and patent filings now total 200, and its developments include an efficient fuel cell for stationary applications with an overall efficiency of 104%. In addition, these products will also be developed further for mobile applications.

In February, Freudenberg Sealing Technologies also has acquired a minority stake in the US firm XALT Energy, which is based in Midland, Mich. The company manufactures large-scale lithium ion battery cells, modules and systems for use in heavy-duty commercial vehicles such as city and transit buses, in the marine industry and in other industrial applications. XALT Energy has more than 140 employees and over 40,000 sq m of high-grade automated cleanroom manufacturing. The company’s battery products have been used successfully in urban transit buses in major American cities such as New York and Los Angeles for several years.

“We consider our project with XALT Energy to be a long-term technological partnership. We will integrate core Freudenberg competencies such as quality, safety and sustainability into the development of its business and successfully expand them,” Möhlenkamp said. Under the agreements, Freudenberg will handle Sales & Marketing. “This will allow us to anchor activities more firmly in Europe, in addition to a focus on the U.S.,” Möhlenkamp said.

The company invested a sum in the mid-double-digit-million-euros range in the transactions, and organisational changes are accompanying the portfolio expansion. “We are bundling our fuel cell and battery business into a one new division which will exclusively handle this business for mobile and stationary applications,” Möhlenkamp said. “This will allow us to use our resources for these products as effectively as possible while quickly expanding and developing our activities for the long term.”

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