Stellantis has entered into talks with French suppliers Faurecia and Michelin to buy a “substantial” stake in the Symbio joint venture, a manufacturer of fuel cell systems for hydrogen mobility, the three companies said.
Stellantis joined forces with Symbio last year to launch a hydrogen-powered midsize van under the Citroen, Peugeot and Opel brands. It aims to expand its hydrogen offering to large vans in Europe in 2024 and the United States in 2025, and is “exploring more opportunities in heavy trucks,” he said.
Automakers and suppliers believe hydrogen fuel cell systems will be the first to take hold in the commercial vehicle market as petrol stations for private cars are few and far between. In contrast, fleet operators can set up hydrogen stations at their depots and refuel their vehicles at the end of the day.
Stellantis CEO Carlos Tavares said in a statement on Friday that Symbio’s technology roadmap is “fully aligned” with the automaker’s hydrogen deployment plans in Europe and the United States.
“This move will accelerate the speed of development to provide customers with low-emission products beyond traditional electric vehicles,” he said in a statement.
The entry of Stellantis “will accelerate and globalize Symbio’s growth,” said Patrick Koller, CEO of Faurecia.
Earlier this year, Symbio announced the HyMotive project to accelerate its industrialization, with plans to increase its total production capacity in France to 100,000 systems per year by 2028 and create a further 1,000 jobs.
Financial details were not provided, but the deal is expected to close in the first half of next year, the three companies said in a statement.
Symbio was founded in 2019. PSA Group, which merged with Fiat Chrysler to form Stellantis, had an indirect stake in Symbio through its controlling interest in Faurecia. Its shares were liquidated before the merger was completed in January 2021.
Reuters contributed to this report