Leading brands invest $170 million into partnership that'll fast-track development of clean propulsion systems

Honda and General Motors (GM) are investing $85 million each to co-develop advanced hydrogen fuel cell powertrains for use in their future models.

The Japanese and American car makers have been working together since 2013. The companies combined their development and shared technology for hydrogen fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems.

The two partners announced today that their collaboration is expanding with the launch of a new company called Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM). It will be located within GM’s existing battery pack manufacturing site in Brownstown, in the south of Detroit.

The company will create around 100 jobs and is expected to significantly reduce the cost of development and manufacturing through economies of scale. In turn, this should help to drive down the cost of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for the end consumer.

Honda’s North American chief operating officer, Toshiaki Mikoshiba, said: “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 to create new value for our customers in fuel cell vehicles of the future.”

Honda and GM have more than 2220 patents between them, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. GM ranks first and Honda third for number of patents filed between 2002 and 2015.

GM’s product development boss, Mark Reuss, said: “The combination of two leaders in fuel cell innovation is an exciting development in bringing fuel cell closer to the mainstream of propulsion applications.

“The eventual deployment of this technology in passenger vehicles will create more differentiated and environmentally friendly transportation options for customers.”

Both brands have already produced vehicles running fuel cell technology. GM says it has accumulated millions of miles in testing such vehicles, while Honda is launching its new Clarity Fuel Cell Vehicle into Britain this year. The model is claimed to be capable of more than 400 miles on one tank.

Our Verdict

Honda Clarity FCV

Honda’s fuel cell flagship reaches its second generation, but is the world ready?

Join the debate

Comments
7

30 January 2017
Man, that is one ugly beast. Must come from the same gene-pool as the Pontiac Aztek

30 January 2017
I meant 'found working at Honda' (obviously!)

30 January 2017
With the cost of the infrastructure required for hydrogen and the distribution, is this still worth pursuing with the current and expected further improvement in batteries?
I can see the benefits of this technology but it just seems to be fraught with difficulties to me.
A battery charging station can be dumped anywhere a transformer can be connected to the mains and that is the end of it; no need for pressure vessels and and a fleet of trucks keeping them filled up, quite apart from the dangers inherent with high pressure hydrogen in transport, storage and the vehicle using it.

31 January 2017
brian245 wrote:

With the cost of the infrastructure required for hydrogen and the distribution, is this still worth pursuing with the current and expected further improvement in batteries?
I can see the benefits of this technology but it just seems to be fraught with difficulties to me.
A battery charging station can be dumped anywhere a transformer can be connected to the mains and that is the end of it; no need for pressure vessels and and a fleet of trucks keeping them filled up, quite apart from the dangers inherent with high pressure hydrogen in transport, storage and the vehicle using it.

Ideally, hydrogen is generated on-site at the filling station by electrolysing water (I think this is what's done at most filling stations, it's certainly true of my nearest). So no need for trucks.

But yes, it's pretty daft. My local station (Swindon, finished a couple of years ago) cost more than ten times as much per mile fuelled as a petrol station, and electrolysed hydrogen uses more than twice as much electricity as a battery-electric car.

Costs will come down, but efficiency will never be vaguely close. Hydrogen fuel for road cars only makes sense if we have a virtually limitless supply of renewable energy.

31 January 2017
Remember it takes 5 times more energy (electricity) to go the same distance with a Hydrogen car as it does in an EV.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

31 January 2017
I can fully understand the objections to hydrogen powered vehicles but they said all this back in the 70's and 80's about how electric cars would only ever be used by left wing tree huggers or eccentrics because the range was pathetic.

I would also say, however, that the money that's being invested by GM & Honda might be a clue as to how seriously they are taking this. The amount mentioned is peanuts by manufacturer's usual levels so maybe it's a sop to the greenies.

31 January 2017
As for the car's looks... Who remembers Robert Harbin?

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK
  • Volvo V90
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The Volvo V90 is a big estate ploughing its own furrow. We’re about to see if it is refreshing or misguided
  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Handsome entrant into the bulging small crossover market has a strong engine and agile handling, but isn’t as comfortable or complete as rivals