Honda, GM announce U.S. fuel cell venture

31 January, 2017, 00:45 | Author: Celia Hoffman
  • 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell

Of the newest fuel sources in vehicle manufacturing, two of the largest for passenger vehicles have been battery electric power and hydrogen fuel cells.

Officials from GM and Honda, however, downplayed the Trump effect, saying the investment is part of a planned step in their joint development of a fuel cell system both companies intend to deploy in next-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles around 2020.

The fuel cell production will be done in Metro Detroit's Brownstown Township, where GM's Brownstown Battery facility is the first high-volume battery assembly facility in the U.S. The plant, which employs about 120, now makes the lithium-ion battery for GM products like the Chevrolet Volt and Malibu hybrid. Some 100 new jobs will be created.

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.

Fuel Cell System Manufacturing will be managed by a board of directors with three executives from each company and a rotating chairperson.

Two automotive giants are combining talents to design and manufacture electric vehicle fuel cells.

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In addition, a president will be appointed to rotate between each company.

Charlie Freese, GM executive director of global fuel cell business, stated that upcoming fuel-cell systems will be "a fraction of the size and mass" of existing units. While carmakers see promise in the technology for its environmental benefits, hydrogen refueling stations are very sparse, a huge hurdle to mass deployment.

"That's probably not a good idea", Reuss tells WardsAuto after announcing the GM-Honda JV here.

Fuel cell vehicles are viewed as the next generation of clean vehicles because they do not emit carbon dioxide. The Clarity Fuel Cell offers an EPA-estimated range of 366 miles and fuel economy rating that is the equivalent of 68 mpg.

Despite the benefits of fuel cell vehicles, interest in the technology has been slow to take off. It has been commonly known that Honda had been holding off the advancement of a replacement for its existing Clarity fuel cell auto, this is the first time that its replacement has been hinted at.

GM and Honda collaborated in a powertrain cross-supply arrangement in 1999 under which Honda manufactured 50,000 V-6 engines for the Saturn VUE and Honda received diesel engines from GM's Isuzu affiliate for use in Europe.

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