Japan’s Suzuki Motor Corporation and the UK’s Intelligent Energy have been collaborating for years on building demonstration fuel cell vehicles. Two of the most successful of the partnership’s products have been in creating fuel cell motorcycles and scooters namely the Suzuki Crosscage motorcycle and Suzuki Burgman fuel cell scooter.
In 2005, the Suzuki Ionis hydrogen car prototype was rolled out at the Tokyo Motor Show. In 2006, Intelligent Energy started showing off its prototype ENV motorcycle which was supposed to have rolled out in production that same year. As this time-frame lapsed it was apparent to Intelligent Energy that they needed to partner with an established, well-branded vehicle manufacturer such as Suzuki (with mass production techniques and a supply chain already in place) which could put the Intelligent Energy fuel cells into a range of vehicles such as scooters, motorcycles, cars and trucks.
Now, fast forward to today. Suzuki and Intelligent Energy have formally announced a joint venture of a company they will each have a 50/50 stake in called SMILE FC System Corporation. Like in their past partnership Intelligent Energy will get access to a well-known and branded vehicle manufacturer and Suzuki will have access to world class and leading edge hydrogen fuel cell technology.
Going forward the SMILE FC System Corporation plans to put production fuel cell cars and other vehicles on the road. This will make them another manufacturer committed to the long game of selling hydrogen vehicles for profit starting sometime in the near future and continuing this trend for the long haul.