General Motors Co. and Honda have established auto industry’s first manufacturing joint venture to mass produce an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system that will be used in future products from each company. Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC (FCSM) will operate within GM’s existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Brownstown, Michigan, south of Detroit. Mass production of these systems is expected to begin around 2020 and create nearly 100 new jobs. The companies are making equal investments totaling $85 million in the joint venture.
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.
“Over the past three years, engineers from Honda and GM have been working as one team with each company providing know-how from its expertise to create a compact and low-cost next-gen 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. “This foundation will now take us to the stage of joint mass production of a system that will help each company create new value for our customers in fuel cell vehicles.”
“The combination of two leaders in fuel cell innovation is an exciting development in bringing fuel cells closer to the mainstream of propulsion applications,” said Mark Reuss, GM executive vice president, Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain. “The eventual deployment of this technology in passenger vehicles will create more differentiated and environmentally friendly transportation options for consumers.”
Fuel cell technology addresses many of the major challenges facing automobiles today: petroleum dependency, emissions, efficiency, range and refueling times. Hydrogen fuel cell vehicles can operate on renewable sources such as wind and biomass, and they only emit water vapor. The two companies also continue to work with governments and other stakeholders to further advance the hydrogen refueling infrastructure that is critical for the long-term viability and consumer acceptance of these vehicles.