GM and Honda team up on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

GM and Honda first began working together in 2013 to develop a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies.

The Fuel Cell System Manufacturing JV will operate within GM's existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Brownstown, Michigan. GM and Honda will still pursue development of fuel cell vehicles on independently.

The company will create around 100 jobs and is expected to significantly reduce the cost of development and manufacturing through economies of scale.

"They're not a science project anymore", GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss said of hydrogen fuel cells in prepared remarks.

According to many reports, Fuel cell technology shows significant advantages with regards as in terms of range and efficiency when compared to both traditional fossil fuel vehicles and purely electric options.

The company will reportedly be operated by a board of directors comprised of executives from both automakers. It will also involve a rotating chairperson and the appointment of a president to rotate between each company.

The fuel cell stacks being built will find their way into next-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles starting around 2020, and will be shipped to other factories where they will be installed into the vehicles. Back when it launched the Mirai, its own fuel-cell based auto, Toyota also outlined its vision of a standalone hydrogen generation plant.

Fuel-cell vehicles, by comparison, can tank up about as quickly as a regular gasoline vehicle.

GM has worked for decades on the technology and since the late 1990s has invested almost $3 billion into fuel-cell technology.

"With the next-generation fuel cell system, GM and Honda are making a dramatic step toward lower cost, higher-volume fuel cell systems".

For years, automakers have said hydrogen powered cars could have a big future as an alternative to gasoline powered vehicles but a lack of refueling infrastructure and development challenges delayed their introduction.

Fuel cells rely on hydrogen-which can be made from renewable sources, like wind-for fuel, and the only byproduct is water.

It said the advanced fuel cell technology will be applied "to each company's future products" within three years. With 366 miles of driving range, the Clarity Fuel Cell exceeds the driving range of traditional electric cars, like the Tesla Model S and Chevrolet Bolt EV. More recently, there have also been rumors that the two companies will collaborate on plug-in hybrid powertrains.

  • David Armstrong