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7 February 2011 | PR 12/21

Intelligent Energy and Suzuki Motor Corporation establish joint venture company to develop and manufacture fuel cell systems


Osamu Honda, Executive Vice President of the Suzuki Motor Corporation (left), and Dr. Henri Winand, Chief Executive of Intelligent Energy (right), shortly after signing the agreement to create SMILE FC System Corporation.

Intelligent Energy, the global clean power systems company that was originally a spin-out from Loughborough University, and the Suzuki Motor Corporation, have today announced the creation of a joint venture company called SMILE FC System Corporation, to develop and manufacture air-cooled fuel cell systems for a range of industry sectors. The joint venture also includes a non-exclusive license agreement that gives Suzuki access to Intelligent Energy’s class-leading fuel cell technology for its next generation of environmentally friendly fuel cell vehicles.

Under the terms of the contract, both companies will take a 50 percent stake in the joint venture. SMILE FC System Corporation will be led by Mr. Osamu Honda, Executive Vice President and representative director for Suzuki Motor Corporation, who will become President of the JV. SMILE FC System Corporation will be headquartered in Hamamatsu City, Shizuoka, with operations initially based in Yokohama.

“Suzuki Motor Corporation has been developing fuel cell vehicles with Intelligent Energy since 2006, and this successful relationship has led to the formation of SMILE FC System Corporation,” explained Mr. Honda. “I believe that we can accelerate the commercialisation of fuel cell vehicles through this joint venture with Intelligent Energy.”

The agreement represents good value for both parties, enabling Suzuki cost-effective access to Intelligent Energy’s advanced fuel cell technology through partnering and licensing, thereby avoiding the higher costs associated with in-house development. Intelligent Energy will benefit from Suzuki’s production expertise and the emerging Japanese supply chain to jointly develop the next generation of automotive standard air-cooled fuel cell systems.

Phil Caldwell, newly appointed Board Member of SMILE FC System Corporation and Business Development Director at Intelligent Energy commented, “This joint venture is the latest exciting development in the successful relationship between Intelligent Energy and Suzuki, which has previously resulted in the Crosscage motorcycle and the Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter. It is a big step towards the mass production of automotive fuel cell systems.” Equipped with Intelligent Energy’s air-cooled fuel cells, the Crosscage and Burgman motorcycles were exhibited at the 2007 and 2009 Tokyo Motor Show, and in 2011, the Fuel Cell Burgman Scooter became the world’s first fuel cell vehicle to achieve European Union Whole Vehicle Type Approval (WVTA).

“Combining Intelligent Energy’s market-leading fuel cell system technology with Suzuki’s mass production capabilities and supply chain excellence will accelerate the deployment, long term scalability and applicability of fuel cells for the next generation of eco cars, and other market segments,” explained Dr Henri Winand, Chief Executive, Intelligent Energy. “This non-exclusive agreement with the Suzuki Motor Corporation also provides further validation of our ‘design once, deploy many times’ proprietary technology and mutually beneficial partnering business model.”

“This joint venture marks a significant milestone that reflects Intelligent Energy’s preeminent position in fuel cell and hydrogen generation technology platforms,” said Professor Steve Rothberg Loughborough University’s Pro Vice Chancellor (Enterprise).  He concluded: “From the company’s origins in ground breaking transport and chemistry research in the late 1980s to its current status as a leading company employing 250 people worldwide, the University is immensely proud of Intelligent Energy’s achievements.”


For all media enquiries contact:

Anna Seddon
Marketing Manager (Enterprise)
Loughborough University
T: 01509 223445
E: A.J.Seddon@lboro.ac.uk 

Notes for editors:

About SMILE FC System Corporation
SMILE FC System Corporation Board:
- Osamu Honda, President and Representative Director (and Executive Vice President and Representative Director of Suzuki Motor Corporation); – Masataka Yamakawa, Vice President and Representative Director (and Representative Director, IE Japan Ltd); – Ichizo Aoyama, Board Member (and Managing Director and Executive Director at Suzuki Motor Corporation); – Phil Caldwell, Board Member (and Business Development Director at Intelligent Energy Ltd); – Kunio Nakamura, Auditor (and Auditor at Suzuki Motor Corporation).

The ratio of capital contribution to SMILE FC System Corporation is as follows: SMC (50%), IEHP (50%).

The SMILE FC System Corporation HQ is located at 300, Takatsuka-cho, Minami-ku, Hamamatsu-city, Shizuoka. The place of business for the corporation is 2-1, Sakuranamiki, tuduki-ku, Yokohama-city, Kanagawa.

About Intelligent Energy (www.intelligent-energy.com)
Intelligent Energy is a leading clean power systems company with a globally scalable business, operating in the motive, stationary power and consumer electronics sectors. Its proprietary fuel cell technologies are designed for the mass market products of some of the world’s leading companies. Intelligent Energy continues to accelerate the commercial introduction of its technologies into very large and growing markets based on sound yet cost effective operations and partnerships. Intelligent Energy’s successes include building the world’s first purpose built fuel cell motorbike, and with partner Suzuki, the first ever fuel cell vehicle to achieve European Union type approval. The company also supplied the system to Boeing which powered the world’s first manned fuel cell aircraft.

The company is privately owned and currently employs over 250 people. Its headquarters and main operating site is based at Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park, with a further operation in Long Beach in the US. The company also has offices in London, Japan and India.

About Loughborough University
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It was awarded the coveted Sunday Times University of the Year 2008-09 title, and is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in national newspaper league tables. In the 2011 National Student Survey, Loughborough was voted one of the top universities in the UK, and has topped the Times Higher Education league for the UK’s Best Student Experience every year since the poll's inception in 2006. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, the University has been awarded six Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

Loughborough is also the UK’s premier university for sport. It has perhaps the best integrated sports development environment in the world and is home to some of the country’s leading coaches, sports scientists and support staff. It also has the country’s largest concentration of world-class training facilities across a wide range of sports.

It is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.

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