Symbio: a technology roadmap for every mobility use case
Over 30 years of combined system engineering experience and 4 million kilometers road-testing has allowed Symbio to optimize the size, weight, power and energy efficiency of fuel cell stacks, as well as their integration into vehicle architecture. This has been driven by collaborative partnerships with leading European OEMs to develop stacks for SUVs, and light commercial vehicles, to heavy duty trucks and buses. To date, Symbio has gained several major strategic contracts in light commercial vehicles with Stellantis and is partnering with SAFRA to equip 1500 hydrogen powered buses in France.
Today Symbio offers an H2Motive range sized for all the power and durability needs of zero emission mobility across the automotive market. This encompasses stack (and multi stack) systems from 40kW to 300kW, engineered with the associated power management systems, electronic control units, cooling, air and hydrogen loops that generate and control the electrical power. Symbio also provides a customized connected service offer, supporting customers monitor system performance on the road, including predictive maintenance. Together Faurecia and Symbio provide 75% of the fuel cell value chain – from hydrogen storage systems to fuel cell stacks and auxiliary elements. This integrated offer allows both companies to have a comprehensive mastery of the whole hydrogen mobility system.
Fuel cell advantages and adaptability
Different types of transportation require different approaches depending on their use cases. A battery electric powertrain may suit daily commuting and short-distance trips for cars or SUVs, but recharging time and driving range makes it less adapted for use in industrial applications such as logistics and heavy duty transportation. Hydrogen-powered vehicles offer key benefits such as short refueling time, greater autonomy (up to 1000km for Symbio’s heavy duty truck stack technology), greater payload capacity and competitive total cost of ownership.
“Manufacturers and operators of commercial fleets are beginning to value the advantages and adaptability of fuel cell electric vehicles which vary from a range extender to a full fuel cell power system,” explains Philippe Rosier, Symbio Chief Executive Officer.
A good example of this is the dual power solution (battery plus fuel cell) being deployed by Stellantis for its new zero-emissions fleets of Peugeot e-expert, Citroen e-Jumpy and Opel e-Vivaro vans. Faurecia and Symbio have partnered with Stellantis to integrate a fully integrated compact, low-weight fuel cell system of tanks and stack pack that delivers 45kW gross power and fits within the existing electric engine bay. Fuel cell electric technology suits the intensive use of commercial vehicles in urban areas which need a longer driving range and faster refueling time to minimize downtime. It represents the first light commercial hydrogen mobility system launch worldwide at scale and shows how a dual power solution combines the best of these two complementary technologies for reliability, ease of use and a best-in-class weight/performance ratio.
Symbio is creating a new state-of-the-art production facility in St Fons near Lyon. With a capacity to support production of 50,000 fuel cell systems per year, it’s a key step in the company’s industrial ambition as well as sustainability goals. The St Fons facility will house an R&D excellence center, start-up incubator, the Symbio H2 Academy, as well as cutting-edge technologies to optimize, automate and scale up design to manufacturing. It will also be connected to decarbonized hydrogen production. Construction will follow Faurecia’s Green Factory white book – a set of sustainable design guidelines and expectations aligned with the Group’s carbon neutral ambition in operations.
“Reducing the cost of hydrogen mobility is key to creating a competitive solution,” explains Philippe Rosier. “Over the past ten years we’ve cut this by a factor of 10 and have an ambitious cost reduction roadmap for the future. Through innovation, technical optimization and scaling up, Symbio will be able to divide the cost of stacks and other components so that fuel cell systems are on a par with electric battery vehicles by 2030.”