Honda and General Motors will work together to develop fuel-cell
systems and hydrogen-storage technologies with a goal of having results by 2020,
the companies said yesterday.
The two automakers will share expertise and suppliers and look for ways to develop a fueling infrastructure. They will then use their work to develop separate vehicles for their respective brands, said Ed Miller, a Honda spokesman.
"There will be GM people working at Honda facilities and there will be Honda people working at GM facilities," he said. "This will be a true collaboration."
A fuel cell uses a chemical reaction to convert a fuel -- often hydrogen or natural gas -- into electricity.
Some of Honda's work will take place at Honda R&D Americas in Raymond, Ohio, which is part of Honda's campus in Union and Logan counties. The companies are not yet saying how many people will be involved or how much money they intend to spend on the initiative.
This is the second partnership this year among major automakers to develop hydrogen fuel cells, following an announcement in January by Ford, Nissan and Daimler.
The collaborations are notable and needed, said Ed Kim, vice president for industry analysis at AutoPacific in Tustin, Calif.
"The problem, and this is a huge problem facing all automakers, is that these technologies are very expensive and they will be low-volume," he said.
Honda and GM are particularly good partners because they have done more to develop fuel-cell vehicles than just about any other companies in the industry, he said.
Honda began offering the FCX, its first hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, for lease in 2002. Its successor is called the FCX Clarity. About 85 of the vehicles have been leased.
GM has a fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles that it has built as part of "Project Driveway," launched in 2007 to learn more about how fuel cells work in typical driving.
"This collaboration builds upon Honda and GM's strengths as leaders in hydrogen fuel-cell technology," said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO, in a statement "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."
His counterpart at Honda, Takanobu Ito, said the partnership will help "create an advanced system that will be both more capable and more affordable."
Honda previously announced plans to introduce a new generation of the FCX Clarity in 2015. This announcement does not change those plans, Miller said.
(c)2013 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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