General Motors and Honda will collaborate in developing next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies, the two companies announced on Tuesday. The first products of their collaboration will appear from 2020. The U.S. and Japanese companies will share expertise, economies of scale and common sourcing strategies.
Both GM and Honda are considered leaders when it comes to fuel cell technology in the automotive sector as according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index, GM and Honda rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2012, with more than 1,200 between them.
"We are convinced this is the best way to develop this important technology, which has the potential to help reduce the dependence on petroleum and establish sustainable mobility," said GM CEO Dan Akerson.
Honda president and CEO Takanobu Ito said: "Honda and GM are eager to accelerate the market penetration of this ultimate clean mobility technology and I am excited to form this collaboration to fuse our leading fuel cell technologies and create an advanced system that will be both more capable and more affordable."
Ito added that fuel cell electric vehicles have a “definitive advantage with range and refueling time that is as good as conventional gasoline cars.”
Since 2007, GM has accumulated nearly 3 million miles (4.82 million km) of real-world driving with its fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles under the Project Driveway program.
The Honda FCX fuel cell vehicle has been leased to select customers from 2002, with 85 units being on U.S. and Japanese roads – including the second-generation FCX Clarity.
Honda plans to launch the successor of FCX Clarity in Japan and the United States in 2015, with Europe to get the car later. GM said it will announce its fuel cell production plans at a later date.
By Dan Mihalascu