GM, Honda to collaborate on next-generation fuel cell technologies; targeting commercial feasibility in 2020 time frame
|2011 Honda FCX Clarity fuel cell vehicle. Click to enlarge.
In New York, General Motors and Honda announced a long-term, definitive master agreement to co-develop next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies, aiming for the 2020 time frame. (Earlier post.) The collaboration expects to succeed by sharing expertise, economies of scale and common sourcing strategies.
GM and Honda plan to work together with stakeholders to further advance hydrogen refueling infrastructure, which is critical for the long-term viability and consumer acceptance of fuel cell vehicles.
|GM’s hydrogen fuel cell product milestones. Click to enlarge.
In January, Daimler AG, Ford Motor Company and Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., signed a three-way agreement for the joint development of a common fuel cell system to speed up availability of the technology and significantly reduce investment costs. (Earlier post.)
The goal of that collaboration is to develop jointly a common fuel cell electric vehicle system while reducing investment costs associated with the engineering of the technology. The strategy is to maximize design commonality, leverage volume and derive efficiencies through economies of scale to help to launch mass-market FCEVs as early as 2017.
GM and Honda are both leaders in fuel cell technology, with longstanding fuel cell research and development programs. 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.
This collaboration builds upon Honda and GM’s strengths as leaders in hydrogen fuel cell technology. 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.—Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO
Among all zero CO2 emission technologies, fuel cell electric vehicles have a definitive advantage with range and refueling time that is as good as conventional gasoline cars. 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.—Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd.
GM’s Project Driveway program, launched in 2007, has accumulated nearly 3 million miles of real-world driving in a fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles, more than any other automaker. (Earlier post.)
Honda began leasing of the Honda FCX in 2002 and has deployed 85 units in the US and Japan, including its successor, the FCX Clarity. (Earlier post.) Honda has delivered these vehicles to the hands of customers in the US and collected valuable data concerning real-world use of fuel cell electric vehicles.
As already announced, Honda plans to launch the successor of FCX Clarity in Japan and the United States in 2015, and then in Europe. GM will announce its fuel cell production plans at a later date.
Fuel cell vehicles can have up to 400 miles driving range, can be refueled in as little as three minutes, and the propulsion technology can be used on small, medium, and large vehicles, the partners noted.
Toyota, which has put more than 5 million hybrid vehicles on the road around the world since 1997, has also set hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as a key research and development priority for the company. The company has committed to introducing a hydrogen fuel cell sedan in the US by 2015. Toyota’s Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle – Advanced (FCHV-adv), part of a fleet of 100 in a nationwide demonstration program, was recently on-site at the Aspen Ideas Festival.