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General Motors and Honda team up to produce hydrogen fuel cell systems

General Motors and Honda have announced they’ll work together on the production of hydrogen fuel cell systems.

HONDA AND GENERAL MOTORS have announced the world’s first car maker joint venture to produce hydrogen fuel cell systems. The joint venture company will be called, Fuel Cell System Manufacturing and will operate out of GM’s own battery pack manufacturing plant in Michigan, building fuel cell systems for both car makers.

According to a joint statement from GM and Honda, mass production is expected to begin in 2020 and will create up to 100 new jobs. The companies are making equal investments totaling $85 million in the joint venture.

“Over the past three years, engineers from Honda and GM have been working as one team with each company providing know-how from its unique expertise to create a compact and low-cost next-generation fuel cell system,” said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, chief operating officer of the North American Region for Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and president & CEO of American Honda Co., Inc. and Honda North America, Inc.

“This foundation of outstanding teamwork will now take us to the stage of joint mass production of a fuel cell system that will help each company create new value for our customers in fuel cell vehicles of the future.”

Both companies have a staggering 2220 fuel cell related patents between them.

“The combination of two leaders in fuel cell innovation is an exciting development in bringing fuel cells closer to the mainstream of propulsion applications,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “The eventual deployment of this technology in passenger vehicles will create more differentiated and environmentally friendly transportation options for consumers.”

“With the next-generation fuel cell system, GM and Honda are making a dramatic step toward lower cost, higher-volume fuel cell systems. Precious metals have been reduced dramatically and a fully cross-functional team is developing advanced manufacturing processes simultaneously with advances in the design,” said Charlie Freese, GM executive director of Global Fuel Cell Business. “The result is a lower-cost system that is a fraction of the size and mass.”

Honda began delivery of its all-new Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle to US customers in December 2016 and received the best driving range rating from the EPA of any electric vehicle without a combustion engine with a range rating of more than 500km

“The expertise Honda has established that led to creation of the first-generation Clarity fuel cell system is valuable experience that we are leveraging in the joint development of the next-generation fuel cell system with GM,” said Takashi Sekiguchi, managing officer and director and chief operating officer of Automotive Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. “Our collaboration is an opportunity to further utilize the strengths of each company to popularize fuel cell vehicles at the earliest possible time.”

Question: While hydrogen can be produced from wind or biomass is it really the best way forward given the infrastructure required? Would a move towards electric vehicles and a push for service stations to become charging stations, as car makers in Europe are pushing for, be a better move?

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7 years ago

I think this is a way to keep motorists interested in IC engines. For sure Hydrogen is super clean but it also amazingly difficult to work with. The atom is so small it can find its way through the crystal structure of most metals so pressure is a problem. It is really easy to ignite as we’ve seen with some terrible incidents with rockets. To me it is far safer to have electric vehicles with electric charging than risk hydrogen refueling. Perhaps it will suit the heavy transport industry. For me, no thanks.

Isaac Bober

Isaac Bober