General Motors and Honda recently announced the establishment of the industry’s first joint venture to mass produce advanced hydrogen fuel cell systems for use in future products from both companies. GM and Honda engineers have been working as one team since July 2013 to develop a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies.
The new Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC will operate inside GM’s battery pack manufacturing facility in Brownstown, Michigan, and mass production is expected to begin around 2020. The $85 million investment from GM and Honda will also create nearly 100 new jobs in the Detroit area.
As two of the leading companies in fuel cell technology, GM and Honda have more than 2,220 patents between them, ranking No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2015. Over the years, both automakers have produced a number of hydrogen-powered concepts and production vehicles, including the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle.
“With the next-generation fuel cell system, GM and Honda are making a dramatic step toward lower cost, higher-volume fuel cell systems,” said Charlie Freese, GM executive director of Global Fuel Cell Business. “The result is a lower-cost system that is a fraction of the size and mass.”
The all-new Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle was launched last spring in Japan, and Honda started deliveries to U.S. customers in December. The Clarity Fuel Cell has the highest range of any electric vehicle without a combustion engine, as tested by the EPA.
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