Isuzu Motors Limited and Honda R&D Co., Ltd., a R&D subsidiary of Honda Motor Co., Ltd., have signed an agreement to undertake joint research on heavy-duty trucks, utilising  fuel cells (FC) and hydrogen as the powertrain base.

The two companies say they are bringing together their research specialisms. 

Isuzu says it has been striving to promote the utilisation of low-carbon and sustainable energy and has been researching and developing various powertrains including clean diesel engines, engines for natural gas vehicles (NGVs) and electric vehicle (EV) powertrains, which accommodate a broad range of customer needs and how vehicles are used. In parallel, Honda has been working toward the realization of a carbon-free society and, to this end, in addition to hybrid and battery electric vehicles, Honda has been researching and developing fuel cell vehicles (FCVs), the ultimate environmental technology, for more than 30 years.

The companies acknowledge there are still some issues that need to be addressed to popularise the use of FC and hydrogen energy, including issues related to cost and infrastructure and they maintain these issues need to be tackled not only by individual companies but more expansively through industry-wide initiatives. Against this backdrop, Isuzu was striving to expand its lineup of next-generation powertrains for heavy-duty trucks, and Honda was striving to expand the application of its FC technologies beyond use for passenger vehicles, which will ‘represent progress toward the realisation of a hydrogen society’.

Sharing the same technological research goals, the two companies reached an agreement to conduct joint research on heavy-duty FC trucks.

Taking advantage of the respective strengths each company has amassed over a long period of time, that is, Isuzu’s strengths in the development of heavy-duty trucks and Honda’s strengths in the development of FC, the two companies will strive to establish the foundation for basic technologies such as FC powertrain and vehicle control technologies.

Moreover, through this joint research, Isuzu and Honda maintain they will not only realise clean, low-noise, low-vibration heavy-duty trucks customers are waiting for, but also promote expansive discussions by the industry so that the use of FC trucks and hydrogen energy can ‘contribute to the future prosperity of the logistics industry and all other industries in our society and to the early realisation of hydrogen society’.