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Stellantis Invests in Hydrogen Fuel Cell Production

May 16, 2023
The automaker already adopted hydrogen fuel to power some light commercial vehicles and now it’s a partner in Symbio, the developer and manufacturer of the battery stacks that provide the zero-carbon electricity.

Automaker Stellantis has taken a one-third stake in Symbio, a developer and manufacturer of hydrogen-fuel cells – a move seen as supporting its line of hydrogen-powered vans for the European and U.S. markets. Symbio will be co-owned by two French companies: Faurecia, an automotive technology supplier that’s part of the Forvia group; and Michelin, the tire manufacturer.

Faurecia and Michelin had been 50-50 partners in Symbio, which has a “gigafactory” slated to start this year at Saint-Fons, France, and aims to produce 50,000 fuel cells annually by 2025.

Stellantis did not announce the value of its investment, though Forvia reported it will draw € 150 million in the sale, suggesting the automaker’s share has a capitalization of €300 million (est. $326 million.)

The investment in hydrogen-fuel technology follows Stellantis’ halt on construction of a lithium-ion battery pack plant it is building in Windsor, Ont., apparently waiting on Canada’s promised subsidy for that project.

Stellantis previously adopted hydrogen-fuel cell technology for electric vehicles developed by Symbio – which it offers to power light commercial vehicles and vans, available since 2021. Larger vans are planned to be offered in 2024.

“Acquiring an equal stake in Symbio will bolster our leadership position in hydrogen-powered vehicles by supporting our fuel cell van production in France, and it also serves as a perfect complement to our growing battery electric vehicle portfolio,” stated Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares. “As we push our Dare Forward 2030 plan forward and move to become carbon net-zero by 2038, we are considering every technological tool at our fingertips to fight global warming.

“Hydrogen fuel cells are necessary,” Tavares continued, “and Symbio will become a significant player in the battle to protect future generations.”

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