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GM and Honda form fuel cell partnership

The companies are to share expertise and economies of scale, as well as working together with stakeholders to increase the hydrogen refuelling structure they see as critical to make the technology viable.

Honda has been leasing its FCX Clarity in North America and Japan since 2009, while General Motors has a fleet of 119 fourth-generation fuel cell vehicles based on the Chevrolet Equinox in operation in Berlin and the United States.

Between the manufacturers there are 1,200 patents in fuel cell research filed between 2002 and 2012. A successor for the FCX Clarity will launch in 2015, and GM expects to announce production for its fifth generation vehicle at a later date.

Hydrogen fuel cells are driven using an electric motor, and produce the electricity to power it from a reverse electrolysis, combining hydrogen with oxygen with only water as a by-product. Refuelling takes minutes, and tank ranges are close to a conventional car.

Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO, commented: ‘This collaboration builds upon Honda and GM’s strengths as leaders in hydrogen fuel cell technology. 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.’

Takanobu Ito, president & CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. added: ‘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.’

The Honda-GM partnership is the third group of major manufacturers to announce they will work together on hydrogen fuel cells. BMW and Toyota  announced a partnership in January, the same week as a similar deal was struck between Daimler, Ford and Renault-Nissan.  

Alex Grant

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