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Intelligent Energy unveils next-generation, integrated, compact fuel cell power unit; developed with Suzuki

The new Gen4 unit. Click to enlarge.

Intelligent Energy introduced its Gen4 air-cooled fuel cell power unit, designed for easy integration into two-wheel and four-wheel vehicles, at the 2014 JSAE (Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan) Annual Congress in Yokohama. The technology has been developed in collaboration with the Suzuki Motor Corporation.

Rated for continuous operation at 3.9kW and capable of providing in excess of 4kW for short periods, the power unit has been designed as a prime-mover power source for smaller fuel cell electric vehicles and also as a range extender for larger vehicles, offering a zero-emission alternative to conventional internal combustion engines and to address range anxiety with battery-only electric vehicles.

The Gen4 fuel cell power unit incorporates the necessary ancillary components to enable vehicle manufacturers to more easily integrate the system into their products. Incorporating Intelligent Energy’s latest proprietary fuel cell technology, Gen4 is a power-dense, compact and self-contained system.

Gen 4 has been subject to a comprehensive development process to satisfy demanding automotive requirements based upon an extensive operational and performance test program, including shock and vibration testing and repeated thermal cycling over a range of operating temperatures.

A ready-to-scale production line capable of manufacturing Gen4 fuel cells was commissioned in 2013 at SMILE FC System Corporation, the joint venture company established by Intelligent Energy and Suzuki in Yokohama, Japan.

Our new Gen4 fuel cell power unit will help vehicle manufacturers to save space, reduce weight and cost without compromising on performance. By making Gen4 available as a self-contained fuel cell power unit, we are able to offer new and existing customers a simple solution, reducing time to market for a broad range of zero-emission production vehicles without the high cost and risk associated with in-house development. Intelligent Energy’s fuel cell portfolio includes some of the highest power density stacks available in the industry, engineered for mass-market adoption in the automotive market.

Applications for Gen4 extend beyond the automotive industry (for example, as an auxiliary power unit or for aerospace applications) and we look forward to expanding sales with our existing customers and markets and also commercializing this product in new and innovative applications.

—James Batchelor, Managing Director of Motive, Intelligent Energy



Two of these small FCs could be enough as range extenders for most small and mid size clean PHEVs.

Two FC units would offer essential redundancy and could extend total operation life duration because one unit would be enough most of the time.


Im glad to see Suzuki entering the fuelcell market along Toyota and Honda and hyunday. I hope this business have success because everything is heavily polluted. I think that the break point is the hydrogen infrastructure more then the cars. The cars are already good but it take a big quantity of hydrogen at cheap price.

Im so depress that in my area, montreal Canada, there is not even one hydrogen station even if we got lot of cheap non-polluting hydro electricity to make hydrogen cheaply with water electrolysis, this is a shame and it's the fault of steven harper and phillipe couillard. These 2 prime ministers are just ignorant guy putting a lot of gasoline in their big suv and driving over the limit. They still don't have a clue about hydrogen even if I write a lot about it. What are they reading? Do they know how to read ? Probably they only know how to repeat what Obama and fidel castro say.


IF this could be CHEAP, it looks smaller/lighter than a ICE/generator/fuel/hot exhaust/.. genset for occasional/emergency EV range extension - even if it had to charge a few minutes for each further mile.

Patrick Free

On one side it looks like a great idea for sure, end to end Zero pollution when adding such a Range Extender to an EV, ... Like if you could put 2 in the front trunk of a future Tesla Model X.... Than sounds PERFECTLY GREEN and helpful... But thinking about it twice it may not be such a great idea... For my main/unique family car replacement the Range Extender I mandate of course should be useful to cure range anxiety all the time, including my daily local commutes around my big city, but more critical for my long trips, and in particular my far away vacation trips in hostile places far away from big cities civilization, done when thousands of people rush to same places in the same time saturating everything there, with all family luggage on board. The only fuel I expect to find in such places in next 20 years is Traditional Gasoline or Diesel. Betting to find Hydrogen there even in 10Y from now, is lower odds than finding a Tesla Fast Charger near bye.... Hence such a RE could be useful to help with Range anxiety for small to medium trips around large cities, but it is not the "rough" all purposes RE device needed in my next PHEV of "progress"...
Then the many facts missing here are extremely suspicious to my old ears... First missing is the price range of course, then the level of effectiveness (What Consumption of Hydrogen per KWH of charge provided ?). Good is this was designed for transportation...Good but not enough yet...


PF...FCs and H2 storage have progressed faster than batteries and ICEs in the last 10+ years or so.

Within a few years, FCs will may be more compact, lighter and cheaper than equivalent batteries and ICEs.

Unfortunately, the installation of H2 station networks will take a few years and will be progressive to match the need. The first networks will be very thin (every 50+ miles or so) but it will grow fast. Low cost, small H2 home units coupled with solar systems and HVAC may also become available


great, you get to replace battery range anxiety with hydrogen anxiety


Dursun - in 73 we had gasoline anxiety. That could also happen again. So pick your poison.

Nick Lyons

One of these can put out ~5hp--even two of these are not going to push your Tesla along at 70 or even 60mph.

IMHO, a practical range extender needs a> to support operation at highway speeds without draining the battery, and b> be fueled with widely-available fuel. It should also be low-cost; cost is not mentioned in this release.


Those small FCs are certainly scalable to satisfy people who prefer or require larger vehicles.

However, a 14KW unit should be enough to keep batteries of well designed small and mid-size PHEVs charged on long trips.

Alan Parker

I don't see that 4kw could even be used as a range extender, it certainly can't be the prime-mover for anything.


An average of 14 KW could keep a small or mid-size e-car going for hours (at legal speed limits) with the help of a much smaller (10 kWh) battery pack.

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