Stellantis, Michelin, and Faurecia, a company of the FORVIA group, signed a binding agreement for Stellantis to acquire a 33.3 percent stake in Symbio, a zero-emission hydrogen mobility venture backed by Faurecia and Michelin, who will remain shareholders, with 33.3 percent holding each. As described in a press release, the announcement is a step toward the decarbonization of the mobility industry, while the addition of Stellantis as a shareholder will boost Symbio’s development across Europe and the United States.
“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,” said Carlos Tavares, Stellantis CEO. “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.”
StackPack Fuel Cell Lineup
Symbio specializes in H2Motive hydrogen mobility systems (also called “StackPack” fuel cell systems) for a range of zero-emission applications, including trucks, vans, buses, and other passenger or commercial vehicles. According to the company, the H2Motive solutions meet the mobility market’s necessary power and durability requirements and take only three to five minutes to refuel.
The StackPack fuel cell lineup includes the 40, 75, 150, and 300. StackPack 40 is for commercial or private vehicles, while StackPack 75 is designed for trucks, buses, and other light utility vehicles. Meanwhile, the 150 and 300 are engineered to accommodate larger, heavy-duty vehicles. Regardless of which StackPack is implemented, the focus is on providing a renewable and carbon-free energy option for the market to reduce the impacts of climate change.
“We are delighted with this transaction, which further increases Symbio’s capabilities and will give additional momentum to the joint venture. Symbio is now perfectly equipped to scale up and expand its leadership outside Europe at a time when the automotive industry is accelerating toward zero emissions,” said Patrick Koller, CEO of Faurecia. “This agreement benefits all parties and allows FORVIA to confirm its status as a global leader in clean mobility.”
“Hydrogen fuel cells are necessary, and Symbio will become a significant player in the battle to protect future generations,” Tavares added.
Symbio plans to produce 50,000 fuel cells annually by 2025, leveraging its Saint-Fons gigafactory, which will start production in the second half of 2023. In 2022, Symbio announced its HyMotive project to enable the company to reach a total annual production capacity in France of 100,000 systems by 2028 while also creating 1,000 jobs in France. At the time of this writing, Symbio has over 700 employees.
“The entry of Stellantis into the capital of Symbio is a tremendous development driver for our joint subsidiary,” said Florent Menegaux, CEO of Michelin. “It is also a perfect demonstration that fuel cell technology is essential for the automotive industry to succeed in the electrification of mobility, particularly for professional use.”
Although electrification is a banner topic in the automotive industry and an inevitable part of the future mobility landscape, some experts maintain that technology liberty is essential as we move toward a decarbonized future. Technology liberty may allow innovations, such as the ones being presented by Symbio, to take root as another way to achieve essential targets around climate change.
“This transaction reinforces the conviction that Michelin has held for many years,” Menegaux said. “Hydrogen will be one of the unavoidable solutions for decarbonization.”
The transaction between Stellantis, Faurecia, Michelin, and Symbio is subject to customary regulatory approvals. Closing is expected in the third quarter of 2023.