Two years ago, the Japanese automaker and the largest US carmaker have joined forces in the research and development field of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles.
During the period, the collaboration has yielded a smaller, leaner, cheaper fuel cell stack – which is the chemical processor responsible with combining hydrogen and oxygen to deliver electricity to power up the vehicle, comments Charlie Freese, GM executive director of global fuel cell engineering. The “next generation is running in our laboratory now,” Freese ads. “Weight is down by almost one half. Size is also down by almost one half. And cost has come down in orders of magnitude.” Toyota, Hyundai and others are probably more visible in the world of fuel cells, but GM partnered with Honda. Freese explains the reasoning was simple – the low-volume environment triggered the necessity and since GM is No.1 and Honda No.2 in terms of worldwide fuel cell patents their union was easy and forthcoming. Their main idea: “have a single part number between both companies. So we can get the scale and reduce the cost of development.”
GM and Honda have not been rushing the production of fuel cell vehicles because they don’t want to run them as an experiment. This means developing the “low-cost, high-performance, durable, safe, very reliable systems” that don’t need subsidizing and become an economical solution. So far, Hyundai and Toyota have already delivered to certain markets their own fuel cell vehicles – the South Korean manufacturer using the Tucson sport utility vehicle as a basis for its green model. Meanwhile, Toyota has taken the “ground-up” approach and has introduced the world’s first dedicated production series fuel cell car, the Mirai.
Via Automotive News