General Motors and Honda have announced a partnership to share expertise, economies of scale and common sourcing strategies to co-develop next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies by 2020.
The automotive companies plan to work together with stakeholders to further advance refueling infrastructure, which they claim is critical for the long-term viability and consumer acceptance of fuel cell vehicles.
“This collaboration builds upon Honda and GM’s strengths as leaders in hydrogen fuel cell technology,” said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO. “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.”
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.
“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,” said Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda. “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.”
GM says its Project Driveway program, launched in 2007, has accumulated nearly three million miles of real-world driving in a fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles, more than any other automaker.
Honda began leasing of the Honda FCX in 2002 and has deployed 85 units in the U.S. and Japan, including its successor, the FCX Clarity, which was named the 2009 World Green Car. Honda has delivered these vehicles to the hands of customers in the U.S. and collected valuable data concerning real-world use of fuel cell electric vehicles. The company says it plans to launch the successor of FCX Clarity in Japan and the United States in 2015, followed by Europe.
Fuel cell technology helps address many of the major challenges facing automobiles today — petroleum dependency, emissions, efficiency, range and refueling times. Vehicles powered by fuel cells can operate on renewable hydrogen made from sources such as wind and biomass and emits only water vapor. These vehicles also 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.
This year, Honda ranked in the top three of Interbrand’s list of “Best Global Green Brands,” which examines the gap that exists between a corporation's environmental practices and consumers' perceptions of those practices.