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The Michelin Group acquires minority stake in fuel cell company Symbio FCell

The Michelin Group has taken a significant minority stake in French fuel cell company Symbio FCell as part of the company’s second round of funding. Michelin joins existing shareholders including the founders, managers and several investment funds: IPSA and CEA Investments (through the CEA strategic fund and its ATI seed-stage fund).

Symbio FCell is the provider of a fuel cell range extender for the Renault Kangoo ZE commercial electrical utility vehicle. Approved for use in Europe, the fuel cell range extender-equipped Kangoo is currently being tested by major commercial fleet operators such as La Poste (French post-office). (Earlier post.)

Symbio FCell designs and produces both PEM-based Hydrogen Fuel Cell Range Extenders (5 kW to 20 kW), and Full Power Hydrogen Fuel Cell Systems (80 kW to 300 kW). Its ALSP modular system is based on fully scalable common components. The company says that its core expertise is in the integration of these components to build solutions tailored to each vehicle.

Symbio FCell is focused on both range extenders and high power, low form factor, reduced-cost energy supply systems.

Michelin, with its research and development in hydrogen fuel cells and sustainable mobility, brings value to the partnership, Symbio FCell said.

In taking a stake in Symbio FCell, the Michelin Group, and its Incubator Program Office (IPO) underlines the overall innovation strategy of the Group. IPO’s mission is to accelerate the time to market for innovations that are outside the traditional core business of the Michelin Group. With this investment Symbio FCell facilitates the market deployment of technologies that have been in development at Michelin since 2003.

This second round of funding gives us financial resources to further proceed with the industrialization of our solutions. With the arrival of the Michelin Group as a shareholder, we strengthen our technology leadership, our potential for innovation, as well as our credibility and market presence.

—Fabio Ferrari, President of Symbio FCell

By becoming a shareholder in Symbio FCell, Michelin will be in a position to have Symbio FCell benefit from technological experience in the field of fuel cell in favor of sustainable mobility. Symbio FCell will acquire the means to furnish the products its customers expect while meeting the high standards of the automotive industry.

—Prashant Prabhu, Director of the Michelin Incubator Program Office



Added Financial and Technical support from Michelin will certainly help Symbio FC to produce improved lower cost units in the near future.

Their small compact unit will be very positive for lower cost range extender in FCEVs.

Patrick Free

Very interesting and proud as a French guy to see Michelin do that too... Just the limit I see here as a strong PHEV supporter for next 10 years at least, vs full EVs right-now fans, is that for the "main car" replacement Range Extender market at least, the fuel this Fuel-Cell Range extender could consume needs to be widely available in the far away places where Fast changers won't be securely available for ages (Long Summer vacations trips). Mean Diesel or gasoline more than Hydrogen. Of course for the "2nd car" EV Range Extender market, only designed to pull full EVs range anxiety away during local commutes, with very limited extra range provides, near the home and big cities, like the BMW i3 ER, more options can be considered of course). So I'm curious if this Fuel Cell can only eat Hydrogen or more fuels...

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