Japanese auto giant Suzuki has taken a strategic stake in Australian tech startup Applied EV as part of $21 million round that values the business at $170 million.
The raise is the first tranche of a two-part funding round, with St Baker Energy and Innovation Fund making significant investments.
Applied EV develops vehicle control systems based on software the company has called Digital Backbone, for use in electric vehicles dedicated to autonomous driving applications.
It enables vehicles of all shapes and sizes to run entirely on software, which in turn simplifies vehicle architecture, cutting components and production costs.
Suzuki has a long-term alliance with the startup, which was founded in 2015, and the two companies will collaborate to accelerate the software development for the next generation of mobility.
The car manufacturer signed a collaboration deal with Applied EV in September last year and has since been evaluating the possibility of future collaboration.
Suzuki is hoping that Digital Backbone will improve its vehicle vehicle feature set and reduce hardware complexity, making their products cheaper to manufacture and accelerate its transition to the production of EVs and autonomous transport.
Applied EV co-founder and CEO Julian Broadbent said the alliance brings together Applied EV’s innovative technology with Suzuki’s experience in building high quality and efficient vehicles.
“Suzuki is a highly respected automotive company, delivering millions of vehicles to customers globally,” he said.
“With over 100 years of expertise, strong values, and a huge market, we’re excited to see what the future will hold.”