A new partnership between two global automakers is giving fuel cell technology a boost – after GM and Honda agreed to set up a manufacturing joint venture in Michigan.
Both automakers – though only Honda has a production series fuel cell model for now – have been on the forefront of fuel cell technology and now they are joining forces to achieve better economies of scale – which should in turn make their fuel cell technology less expensive. Both companies have agreed to invest $85 million into a joint venture that will see them partner on manufacturing fuel cells in Michigan, the parts to be sourced in their future vehicles embedded with the technology. Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC (FCSM) is certainly not the best name, but at least has great goals. The joint venture will be located at GM’s battery plant in Brownstown, Michigan, and will start producing fuel cell stacks in 2020.
GM and Honda want to use the joint venture to lower the cost of hydrogen fuel cell powerplants by increasing the economies of scale, and this is actually a completion of their partnership on fuel cell development that was started back in 2013. The Japanese automaker has had the hydrogen-fueled FCX since 2002, followed it with the FCX Clarity in 2008 and now has a new Clarity that just debuted in the US. GM meanwhile plans to have a fuel cell vehicle ready for 2020.