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.