On January 27, 2011 I had asked Intelligent Energy to stop demonstrating their products and start commercializing them. Now, 4 months later they have made the announcement that they plan to do just that.
The same company that has demonstrated vehicles such as the ENV, London Black Cabs, the Burgan scooter and the Suzuki Crosscage motorcycle has secured $11 million through a recent round of fundraising to set up an assembly line for their fuel cells. So far Intelligent Energy has been operating in the red with their demo projects but they expect to be in the black as early as next year.
According to Dr. Mark Lawson-Statham, Director of Corporate Finance at Intelligent Energy, “This material up round helps us to further accelerate the commercialisation of our clean power systems. We are experiencing real customer pull for our fuel cell power systems across our market segments. This is not surprising, as like us, a number of our partners and customers are seeing major commercial tipping points across the automotive, consumer electronic, backup power and combined heat and power markets … This investment allows us to continue the commercialisation of our fuel cell technology, some of which is already undergoing public road testing. Our Fuel Cell Black Cabs have debuted on the streets of London, while the Suzuki Burgman Fuel Cell Scooter recently obtained European Whole Vehicle Type Approval – a first for any fuel cell vehicle.”
Four months ago I was frustrated that Intelligent Energy (IE) might be one of those companies that spend years or even decades demonstrating their emerging products without ever going into commercialization. I will be happy to be proven wrong the moment I see the IE products rolling off their assembly lines. With the chicken-or-the-egg syndrome facing the hydrogen transportation industry, either the chicken or the egg has to make the first move. I’m glad to see Intelligent Energy taking an intelligent risk and without chickening out when it comes to hydrogen fuel cell products people have been clamoring for over the past decade.