SoftWheel, the Israeli startup that develops wheel suspension technology, has announced that it has signed a new R & D and production partnership with the Japanese automotive and transportation equipment manufacturer Musashi Seimitsu Industry, with which a new entry has been found in the automotive industry.
The Tel Aviv-based company said that Musashi Seimitsu, a Tier 1 company partially owned by Honda Motor Company with 30 production sites worldwide, was also part of a new investment round led by Rothschild Bank, but did not publish the amount in a press statement. According to Crunchbase, the Series C round was $ 25 million.
The deal with Musashi Seimitsu, which specializes in the development and manufacture of powertrain products, including gearboxes and assemblies, and reduction gears for electric vehicles, "will ensure the highest standards for the production of SoftWheels car systems and will support the successful market penetration." companies indicated in a statement.
SoftWheel said the current investment round represents a market value of NIS 500 million ($ 136 million) for the company.
SoftWheel CEO Daniel Barel welcomed the deal and said in a statement that he was "delighted to enter into this partnership with Musashi, delivering a strong engineering and manufacturing value to SoftWheel." Their unique corporate culture and innovation spirit are a perfect match for SoftWheel and we looking forward to an exciting journey together to shape the future of transport. "
The company, founded in 2011, is known for its work in the personal mobility sector, and offers in-wheel technology for wheelchair and bicycles.
He recently signed a $ 4.5 million deal with the US Department of Veteran Affairs to provide wheels for 2000 wheelchairs over the course of three years. Wheel technology is said to reduce pain for wheelchair drivers and increase comfort.
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The Fluent wheels from SoftWheel for bikes are currently in the pilot phase and electric bikes that have used their wheels have "completed a test track faster than with ordinary wheels" and had 16.4 percent more energy in the battery pack ", thus reducing the ride efficiency and saving money and energy, SoftWheel said, which can be particularly beneficial for bicycle-sharing companies, it added.
The company has also adapted its revolutionary technology to the unique requirements of cars and trucks with the Enduro wheel, improving the overall handling, performance and energy efficiency of individual vehicles and large vehicle fleets. SoftWheel says the adaptive wheel suspension in the wheels is the "only technology designed from the outset to effectively reduce the unsprung mass of the vehicle", affecting vehicle weight, maneuverability and responsiveness and driving range.
SoftWheel says it is increasingly recognized as the enabler of future vehicle platforms, including EV [electric vehicles]hybrid and autonomous vehicles.
The latest deal with the Japanese multinational comes at the foot of a April strategic partnership agreement with Linamar, the second largest Canadian car parts manufacturer traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange.
According to the agreement, Linamar will set up a production line for SoftWheel products in North America to accelerate entry to the world market.
Barel said that SoftWheel "has shown great interest from car parts manufacturers, as well as OEMs [original equipment manufacturers] who recognize and appreciate our technology and revolutionary solution. "
"As a technology company, we want to work with the world's best auto parts manufacturers, such as Musashi, to bring our technology to the market," he added.
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Musashi CEO Hiroshi Otsuka said in a statement that SoftWheel "offers a unique solution for future automotive platforms and we are excited about the opportunity to work with such an innovative team.
"Our technology is ready to lead the future of autotransformation and we look forward to working with SoftWheel to develop and produce this solution for OEMs."