Suzuki Motors has made another big step towards production of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle by completing a fully operational small-scale facility capable of producing next-generation fuel cells to power those vehicles.
The production plant has been opened just a year after Suzuki and Intelligent Energy (of the UK) joined forces on the “SMILE FC” plan. The Suzuki Motors InteLligent Energy Fuel Cell (SMILE FC) plan has the goal of developing and manufacturing air-cooled fuel cell systems for cars and other applications.
While the new plant is scaled, it is semi-automated and capable of turning out working fuel cells on a production line. The SMILE FC plan calls for the testing of the process and quality control of its final product to begin now with more production lines adding in to take the plant full scale when ready.
The plant is in Yokohama Japan and demonstrates the focused commercial approach the collaboration is taking for hydrogen fuel cell production. It allows Suzuki to put its years of experience in fuel cell research for vehicles (including the 2009 Suzuki SX4 FCV, pictured) and Intelligent Energy’s proprietary fuel cell technology.
Suzuki has said that they will be releasing a short-run production version of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle to market in 2015 and it is likely that the fuel cells used will come from this venture. Suzuki has pulled operations from the United States, however, so it’s unlikely that their fuel cell vehicle will be seen here.