General Motors and Honda, after three years of joint developments on hydrogen fuel cell projects, have announced the establishment of the auto industry’s first manufacturing joint venture to mass produce an advanced hydrogen fuel cell systems.

The Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC will operate within GM’s existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Brownstown, Michigan, south of Detroit.

GM-Honda Joint Hydrogen Fuel Cell System

GM-Honda Joint Hydrogen Fuel Cell System

Sounds ok, but here is the thing - the scale:

  1. Production to start around 2020
  2. will result in nearly 100 new jobs
  3. total investment to amount to around $85 million, shared equally by both companies
Pretty sure a budget of $85 million spread over ~4 years employing up to 100 people isn't going to result in the mass production of anything - but we digress.

"Honda and GM have been working together through a master collaboration agreement announced in July 2013. It established the co-development arrangement for a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies. The companies integrated their development teams and shared hydrogen fuel cell intellectual property to create a more affordable commercial solution for fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems."

"GM and Honda are acknowledged leaders in fuel cell technology with more than 2,220 patents between them, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. GM and Honda rank No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed in 2002 through 2015."

Honda said it sees hydrogen fuel cells as the ultimate automotive solution.

Japanese company currently offers in limited form the Clarity Fuel Cell with up to 366 miles of range.

Toshiaki Mikoshiba, chief operating officer of the North American Region for Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and president of Honda North America, Inc. said:

“Over the past three years, engineers from Honda and GM have been working as one team with each company providing know-how from its unique expertise to create a compact and low-cost next-gen fuel cell system. This foundation of outstanding teamwork will now take us to the stage of joint mass production of a fuel cell system that will help each company create new value for our customers in fuel cell vehicles of the future.”

Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain said:

“The combination of two leaders in fuel cell innovation is an exciting development in bringing fuel cells closer to the mainstream of propulsion applications. The eventual deployment of this technology in passenger vehicles will create more differentiated and environmentally friendly transportation options for consumers.”

GM-Honda Joint Hydrogen Fuel Cell System

GM-Honda Joint Hydrogen Fuel Cell System

Charlie Freese, GM executive director of Global Fuel Cell Business said:

“With the next-generation fuel cell system, GM and Honda are making a dramatic step toward lower cost, higher-volume fuel cell systems. Precious metals have been reduced dramatically and a fully cross-functional team is developing advanced manufacturing processes simultaneously with advances in the design. The result is a lower-cost system that is a fraction of the size and mass.”

Takashi Sekiguchi, managing officer and director and chief operating officer of Automotive Operations, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. said:

“The expertise Honda has established that led to creation of the first-generation Clarity fuel cell system is valuable experience that we are leveraging in the joint development of the next-generation fuel cell system with GM. Our collaboration is an opportunity to further utilize the strengths of each company to popularize fuel cell vehicles at the earliest possible time.”