An agreement between GM and Honda hopes to speed up the development of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles like the HydroGen4

GM and Honda announce fuel cell collaboration

General Motors and Honda announced an agreement today to co-develop next-generation fuel cell and hydrogen storage technologies.

The collaboration, which is aiming for the 2020 time frame, hopes to speed up development by sharing expertise, economies of scale and common sourcing strategies as well as further advance refueling infrastructure, which they see as critical for the long-term viability and consumer acceptance of fuel cell vehicles.

According to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index, GM and Honda rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2012, with more than 1,200 between them.

“This collaboration builds upon Honda and GM’s strengths as leaders in hydrogen fuel cell technology,” says Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO. “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.”

GM’s Project Driveway program, launched in 2007, has accumulated nearly three million miles of real-world driving in a fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles, more than any other automaker.

Honda, on the other hand, began leasing of the Honda FCX in 2002 and has deployed 85 units in the US and Japan, including its successor, the FCX Clarity, which was named the 2009 World Green Car.

Takanobu Ito, president and CEO of Honda Motor Co. says: “Among all zero CO2 emission technologies, fuel cell electric vehicles have a definitive advantage with range and refueling time that is as good as conventional gasoline cars.

“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.”

As already announced, Honda plans to launch the successor of FCX Clarity in Japan and the United States in 2015, and then in Europe. GM will announce its fuel cell production plans at a later date.

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