Symbio, a joint venture between Fovia, Michelin and Stellantis, has inaugurated Europe’s largest gigafactory for hydrogen fuel cells in Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes, France.

Called E SymphonHy, the new 26,000sqm gigafactory will produce 50,000 fuel cell systems per year from 2026 – up from 16,000 at its current capacity, Symbio said in a statement on Tuesday.

Philippe Rosier, CEO of Symbio, said: “SymphonHy is proof of European industrial and technological leadership. With the entire ecosystem, our partners, private and public, we are ready to scale up and make hydrogen-electric mobility a sustainableefficient, affordable reality. Delivered in less than two years, SymphonHy demonstrates Symbio’s ability to meet its industrial commitments and contribute to accelerating the deployment of zero-emission hydrogen mobility.”

Fuel cells are electrochemical devices that turn hydrogen or other fuels into electricity. As opposed to battery-electric technology, which is used for smaller vehicles, fuel cell technology has the potential to decarbonise heavy-duty transport.

The first fully assembled fuel cell system at SymphonHy was delivered in October 2023, one month after the factory was commissioned.

Carlos Tavares, CEO of Stellantis, added that Symbio’s new hydrogen factory “marks an important milestone because hydrogen is part of the range of technologies we offer to our light commercial vehicle customers.”

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“This technology is a key part of the powerful electric ecosystem we are developing to support our bold goal of reaching 100% of our sales in Europe and 50% in the United States by 2030. Stellantis’ raison d’être being to “shape the mobility of tomorrow”, hydrogen will help achieve our ambition of carbon neutrality by 2038, ahead of the competition, in the fight against climate change.”