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Thursday, May 30, 2024

Symbio Building New Production Facility

EVs: Hydrogen Vehicle Maker Gets $9M CA Grant

French hydrogen-powered fuel cell systems developer and H2-vehicle integrator Symbio – a Faurecia and Michelin joint venture – has been awarded a $9 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to build a facility in Temecula.

Symbio’s North American division is opening a 32,000-square-foot plant for assembling regional heavy-duty fuel cell Class 8 trucks, medium-duty fuel cell vehicles and fuel cell power systems.

A total of 63 permanent skilled manufacturing positions will be created over three years. The facility is expected to be operational by 2024 and maintain an annual production capacity of 250 trucks and 2,000 fuel cell power systems in a move to allow the industry to expedite hydrogen-powered zero-emission heavy-duty mobility deployment in California.

Rob Del Core
North America Manager

“California is a pioneer in the deployment of hydrogen mobility, not only in the U.S. but also in the world,” said Symbio North America Manager Rob Del Core. “Its leadership ranges from initiating the policy and regulation for the Advanced Clean Truck rule and Advanced Clean Fleet Rule, providing the clear path to zero-emission adoption, supporting the needed investments in establishing hydrogen infrastructure and providing financial support to promising projects such as ours.”

“The Energy Commission is pleased to support Symbio North America in expanding their manufacturing of fuel cell trucks here in California and helping the state meet our goals for zero-emission transportation,” added CEC Commissioner Patty Monahan. “Companies like Symbio are helping make California the new Michigan when it comes to zero-emission vehicle manufacturing.”

This is Symbio’s second CEC award. In 2022, it was granted $2 million to support its Symbio H2 Central Valley Express project which plans to develop and demonstrate a hydrogen fuel cell truck that matches the performance of a 15-liter diesel truck. Later this year, its capabilities will be put to the test on a 12-month, 400-mile route between the Inland Empire and Northern San Joaquin Valley.

“We acknowledge the need to prove to the market the maturity of the technology in order to encourage adoption,” added Del Core. “This is why projects like the Symbio H2 Central Valley Express are key to demonstrating technology maturity and its compelling performance.”

The European Union is phasing out the internal combustion engine by 2040, while the Biden Administration has said it wants half of all U.S.-sold vehicles to run on electricity by 2030.

While battery electric vehicles still dominate the EV market, Symbio is confident that hydrogen-powered vehicles are essential, especially for commercial fleet vehicles and trucks facing zero-emission regulatory requirements. “In larger vehicles, hydrogen-power systems are better suited to meet the most demanding requirements in terms of power, autonomy, refueling time and payload,” said Del Core.

Hydrogen vehicles have some advantages over battery electric vehicles – especially in the larger vehicle sizes. They can generally run up to 400 miles and take less than 5 minutes to fuel. Battery-powered vehicles are often limited to about 300 miles. Even with a supercharging station, expected wait times for an 80-percent charge range from 20 to 40 minutes.

Global automaker Stellantis – the owner of iconic brands like Chrysler, RAM, Fiat and Jeep – has been in exclusive negotiations with Symbio’s shareholders since the end of 2022 to acquire a substantial stake in the company and join its other joint venture partners, Faurecia and Michelin.

Stellantis selected Symbio to partner on the deployment of a light commercial fleet of vans across Europe that will use Symbio’s 45KW Fuel Cell System, a hydrogen-powered solution designed to deliver a range of more than 250 miles and a refueling capability of just three minutes. Stellantis plans to expand its hydrogen offering to large vans as early as 2025 in the U.S.

“Symbio aims at playing a major role in supporting the adoption of the hydrogen-powered mobility and deployment over time of a world-class Gigafactory to serve the U.S. market needs as hydrogen is recognized by the federal government as a key lever to achieving its ambitious climate goals,” Del Core said.


CEO: Philippe Rosier
BUSINESS: EV manufacturer
EMPLOYEES: 700 worldwide
NOTABLE: By 2030, Symbio’s goal is to reach 1.5 billion EUR in annual sales with global production capacity of more than 200,000 systems annually.

Symbio’s 32,00 square-foot plant in Temecula where the company will assemble hydrogen-powered trucks. Courtesy of Symbio

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