Published: Tue, January 31, 2017
USA | By Yvette Dunn

Honda go all in on Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

Honda go all in on Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles

Major automotive manufacturers including Toyota, Hyundai, Honda, Daimler and BMW are heading a consortium of 13 companies which will together be investing an amount exceeding United States dollars 10 billion within the next five years to promote the use of hydrogen fuel-cell technology.

This produces energy in the form of electricity which powers the electric motors.

Hydrogen fuel cells are seen by some as the most environmentally friendly alternative to traditional combustion engines because they use only renewable resources. But size and cost have been hurdles. More recently, there have also been rumors that the two companies will collaborate on plug-in hybrid powertrains. It has been commonly known that Honda had been holding off the advancement of a replacement for its existing Clarity fuel cell vehicle, this is the first time that its replacement has been hinted at.

"The two companies established a research joint venture three years ago", with each company providing know-how from its unique expertise to create a compact and low-priced next-generation fuel cell system", said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, chief operating officer of the North American Region for Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and president of Honda North America, Inc. - Charlie Freese, GM executive director of Global Fuel Cell Business. The lack of hydrogen fueling stations and the high cost of development are among the obstacles to high volume sales of such vehicles. It will also involve a rotating chairperson and the appointment of a president to rotate between each company. GM and Honda first began working together in 2013 to develop a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies.

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But Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president-Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, says the automaker will not make long-term investment decisions based on chatter around future regulatory environments. GM and Honda will still pursue development of fuel cell vehicles on independently. In turn, this should help to drive down the cost of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for the end consumer.

In December, Honda began selling its new Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle only in California in the USA and in spring 2016 in Japan.

A year ago, the two companies took a further step in their partnership by announcing that they'd set up a joint factory to manufacture fuel-cell stacks, with a goal of production by 2025 at the latest.

In return, Honda bought diesel engines from GM's affiliate company Isuzu to use in vehicles sold in Europe.

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