GM, Honda form venture to produce fuel cell systems

GM, Honda form venture to produce fuel cell systems

While timing would be right for the next generation Honda Clarity fuel cell vehicle, Reuss declined to confirm his company has any hydrogen fuel-cell powered commercial model planned.

For their part, GM and Honda say the new plant should be up-and-running by 2020, each maker planning to invest $85 million in the venture.

Production is the next step in the partnership, originally announced in 2013, when the two companies agreed to codevelop a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage tanks. This entity will reside in GM's battery manufacturing facility in MI. 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.

Vehicles powered by fuel cells earn credits for automakers under federal and state rules aimed at reducing emissions of greenhouse gases that allow them to sell larger, petroleum-fueled vehicles that typically earn higher profits. But size and cost have been hurdles.

Equipped with a hydrogen fuel cell and electric drive, the vehicle will be driven by electricity generated from highly compressed hydrogen stored in the vehicle, the statement said.

GM and Honda
GM and Honda partner to mass produce hydrogen fuel cells in Michigan

GM, meanwhile, started to consider fuel cell technology in the 1960s, said Dan Nicholson, vice president of GM Global Propulsion Systems. The company is convinced fuel cells will take an increasing share of the global automotive market, said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, chief operating officer for the North American region of Honda Motor Company. The two companies have pooled development resources, and intellectual property has been shared in search of a more efficient powertrain.

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

The Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM) joint venture will be operated by a board of directors consisting of three executives from each company that will include a rotating chairperson. GM ranks first and Honda third for number of patents filed between 2002 and 2015. GM and Honda have not signed on with any refueling infrastructure programs to date.

"The eventual deployment of this technology in passenger vehicles will create more differentiated and environmentally-friendly transportation options for consumers", Reuss said. GM holds more patents on the technology than any other company.

Honda began selling its Clarity fuel cell vehicle in the U.S.in December, following the car's launch in Japan last spring.

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