Japanese auto giant Suzuki has taken a strategic stake in Australian tech startup Applied EV as part of a $21 million round that values the company at $170 million.
The increase is the first tranche of a two-part financing round, with St Baker Energy and Innovation Fund making significant investments.
Applied EV is developing vehicle control systems based on software the company has named Digital Backbone for use in electric vehicles for autonomous driving.
It enables vehicles of all shapes and sizes to run entirely on software, which in turn simplifies vehicle architecture, reduces components and production costs.
Suzuki has a long-standing alliance with the startup, which was founded in 2015, and the two companies will work together to accelerate software development for next-generation mobility.
The automaker signed a partnership agreement with Applied EV in September last year and has been evaluating the possibility of future partnerships ever since.
Suzuki hopes Digital Backbone will improve the features of its vehicle vehicles and reduce hardware complexity, making their products cheaper to manufacture and accelerating the transition to EV manufacturing and autonomous transportation.
Julian Broadbent, co-founder and CEO of Applied EV, said the alliance combines Applied EV’s innovative technology with Suzuki’s experience in building high-quality and efficient vehicles.
“Suzuki is a highly respected car company that supplies millions of vehicles to customers around the world,” he said.
“With over 100 years of expertise, strong values and a huge market, we are excited to see what the future holds.”