PARIS—Michelin and Faurecia Group, a leading French automotive systems supplier, have agreed to form a joint venture that will develop, produce and market hydrogen fuel-cell systems for light vehicles, utility vehicles, trucks and other applications.
Faurecia and Michelin said they are convinced of the importance of hydrogen technology in the emerging field of zero-emissions mobility and of the need to create a strong European hydrogen industrial sector.
The two companies said they aim to create a world leader in hydrogen fuel-cell systems through combining existing and complementary assets from both partners in the joint venture, thus enabling the venture to offer a range of fuel-cell systems almost immediately.
For electric vehicles, fuel-cell technology complements battery technology, especially in those cases requiring intense use and greater autonomy. Furthermore, fuel-cell technology has 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 FCell, a Paris-based developer of fuel-cell technology in which Michelin has held a minority share since 2014.
At that time, Michelin said becoming a shareholder in Symbio would support its work in developing sustainable mobility technologies and program.
Faurecia will contribute the technological fuel-cell expertise it has developed through a strategic partnership with France's Alternative Energies & Atomic Energy Commission, its industrial know-how and its strategic relationships with car manufacturers.
Michelin and Faurecia will be equal owners of the new venture, which will use the Symbio name.
Faurecia's activities in this area are part of its Clean Mobility business, which develops and produces innovative solutions to drive mobility and industry toward zero emissions. Its solutions for air quality, energy efficiency, acoustic performance and powertrain electrification address the needs of all types of vehicles manufacturers, industrial and high-horsepower engine applications as well as cities and fleet operators.
Michelin also noted that a separate cooperation with French energy provider Engie Group for the development of a hydrogen ecosystem, in particular in the field of hydrogen mobility, also will benefit the joint venture. Engie also is a minority investor in Symbio.
Michelin and Faurecia representatives signed the joint-venture memorandum of understanding this week in the presence of Agnès Pannier-Runacher, secretary of state at the French Ministry for Economy and Finance. This operation is subject to the approval of the applicable merger authorities.
"This innovative partnership will facilitate the emergence and development of hydrogen mobility: it opens the way to a new form of sustainable mobility," said Florent Menegaux, general managing partner and future president of Michelin. "The ultimate aim is to develop a complete mobility offer for hydrogen vehicles, from fuel cells to maintenance services."