On Tuesday, Symbio North America announced it’s receiving a $9 million grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to build hydrogen fuel cells and commercial vehicles in the Golden State. This is the second such financial boost the company has benefited from, the first being awarded in April of 2022 to support the Symbio H2 Central Valley Express project.
Symbio is a joint venture between supplier company Faurecia and tiremaker Michelin. With more than three decades of experience and 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) driven, the firm is a leader in the field of hydrogen fuel cells.
This new grant will be used to support a manufacturing facility in Temecula, California. The 32,000-square-foot space is expected to become operational in 2024, producing Class 8 trucks alongside medium-duty vehicles, all powered by environmentally friendly hydrogen fuel cells. This new factory should support 63 permanent skilled manufacturing jobs over three years, which doesn’t seem like enough people to build any significant number of vehicles, but Symbio expects to assemble up to 250 trucks and 2,000 fuel cell power systems annually.
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Expanding its footprint in the U.S. will allow Symbio to better meet the demands of customers that need clean energy technology. Beyond manufacturing, the CEC grant will also assist Symbio in establishing a special hydrogen academy to train workers in the US. Additionally, the company will partner with UC Riverside, California State LA University and Cerritos College to “develop hydrogen academic programs, leveraging Symbio Hydrogen Academy’s support and existing contents developed in Europe.” Technicians already in the Michelin Commercial Service Network will be able to take advantage of these educational programs, with the goal of training “at least 185 professional, students, technicians, and fleet operators by 2025.”
Speaking of the latest grant money, Rob Del Core, general manager of Symbio North America said in a media release, “We are honored by the trust that the CEC has placed in us for the second time … While the H2-powered class-8 truck under the ‘Symbio H2 Central Valley Express project’ is in good progress to hit the road early next year, this award contributes to a strategic first development of Symbio’s manufacturing footprint in the region.” Beyond that, Del Core said, “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.”
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“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,” said Patty Monahan, commissioner of the California Energy Commission in the same media release. “Companies like Symbio are helping make California the new Michigan when it comes to zero emission vehicle manufacturing.”
Scaling up its global manufacturing footprint, Symbio is aiming to produce more than 200,000 hydrogen fuel cell power systems per year by 2030, while also growing its annual sales to 1.5 billion euros.