General Motors and Honda say they have started commercialised hydrogen fuel cell production at their 50-50 joint venture production facility, Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC (FCSM), in Michigan, US.
FCSM was established in 2017 on a joint investment of $85 million.
FCSM president Suheb Haq said: “This is a historic day for the industry as GM and Honda are the first full fuel cell system manufacturing joint venture to begin volume production of fuel cells for transportation and beyond. We begin the process with raw materials for membrane and electrode all the way through completed systems.”
Honda and GM engineers began work in 2013 on the co-development of the next-generation fuel cell system.
In addition to advancing fuel cell system performance, GM and Honda collaborated to double durability compared to the 2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell by using corrosion-resistant materials and by improving low-temperature operation.
The companies say they have also focused on lowering development and manufacturing costs by leveraging economies of scale, advancing the cell design, simplifying supporting auxiliary equipment, utilizing common sourcing, and reducing the use of costly precious metals.
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Through this collaboration, it is cited that the new fuel cell systems will be one-third less expensive to make when compared to the cost of the fuel cell system in the 2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.
GM and Honda engineering teams and the companies’ relevant intellectual property and expertise have been integrated at FCSM to create affordable, commercially viable hydrogen fuel cell systems to be utilised in a variety of zero-emissions propulsion and energy management applications.
In a sign of the broad thinkng on possible hydrogen applications, GM and Komatsu are working on a heavy duty off-road project. At the end of last year, General Motors and Komatsu said they will co-develop a hydrogen fuel cell power module for Komatsu’s 930E electric drive mining truck. The two companies will jointly design and validate the technology.