GM, Honda plug in for new fuel-cell tech

  • Honda / GM stretch out vehicle collaboration
  • Development will go ahead at Detroit plant
  • Advanced fuel-cell tech to share in future products
HONDA CLARITY: One of the test units for GM and Honda's joint experiment with fuel-cell propulsion. Image: Newspress
HONDA CLARITY: One of the test units for GM and Honda’s joint experiment with fuel-cell propulsion. Image: Newspress

DETROIT, Michigan – General Motors and Honda are to establish the auto industry’s first joint venture for mass production of an advanced hydrogen fuel-cell system for each brands future products.

Each two will share the $85-million (R1.15-billion) cost.

Fuel Cell System Manufacturing will operate in GM’s existing battery-pack plant in Brownstown, near Detroit, with production expected to begin around 2020 and create nearly 100 jobs.

HONDA AND GM SIGN DEAL: And that's one of the new fuel-cell units that are being explored. Image: Newspress
HONDA AND GM SIGN DEAL: And that’s one of the new fuel-cell units being joinrly explored. Image: Newspress

Honda and GM have been working together since the collaboration was announced in July 2013 to co-develop the “next-generation” fuel-cell system and hydrogen storage technology.

The hope is to create a less-expensive  commercial solution for fuel-cell and hydrogen storage systems.

Toshiaki Mikoshiba, chief operating officer for Honda US and president and CEO of American Honda and Honda North America, told The Corner in a media release:

“Engineers from Honda and GM have been working as one, each company providing know-how from its unique expertise, to create a compact and inexpensive next-generation fuel-cell.

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

Honda claims fuel-cell vehicle range record

The venture will have six directors, three from each company, each in turn acting as chairman or president.

HONDA AND GM SIGN DEAL: And that's one of the new fuel-cell units that are being explored. Image: Newspress
HONDA AND GM SIGN DEAL: Closer look at one of the new fuel-cell units. Image: Newspress

GM and Honda claim to be leaders in fuel-cell technology and between them have more than 2220 related patents. The Clean Energy Patent Growth Index has GM and Honda rank top and third respectively.

READ MORE Honda features on Carman’s Corner

Mark Reuss, GM’s executive vice-president for global product development, purchasing and supply chain, added:

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

Fuel-cell technology addresses many of the major challenges facing vehicles today: petroleum dependency, emissions, efficiency, range and refuelling time. Fuel-cell vehicles use only hydrogen made from renewable sources such as wind and biomass. Only water vapour leaves their exhaust.

GM and Honda are working together to reduce the cost of development and manufacturing and will continue to work with governments and other stakeholders to advance the refuelling infrastructure vital for long-term viability and consumer acceptance.

BEST DRIVING RANGE BY CLARITY

GM is demonstrating the use of fuel-cells across land, sea and air applications and has already accumulated millions of kilometres in fuel-cell vehicles.

Honda began deliveries of its new Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle (pictured) to US customers in December 2016 after its launch earlier in that year in Japan. The Clarity Fuel Cell received the best driving range rating from the EPA of any electric vehicle without a combustion engine with a range rating of 585km.

GM and Honda collaborated in a power-train cross-supply arrangement in 1999 under which Honda assembled 50 000 V6 engines for the Saturn VUE and in turn received diesel engines from GM’s Isuzu affiliate for use in Europe.

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