GM, Honda team up for hydrogen future
With hybrids being something of a stop-gap technology and electric cars currently limited by battery range, many are looking to hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles as the answer to our motoring future.
However, as with conventional battery cars, fuel cell technology is still has a long development curve ahead of it and it is prohibitively expensive. Let's not even start on the lack on infrastructure.
Now GM and Honda have decided to hold hands to smooth the path ahead for this technology.
The collaboration expects to succeed by sharing expertise, economies of scale and common sourcing strategies in the aim of making the final products more affordable.
Both companies are leaders in fuel cell expertise, with more than 1200 filed patents between them.
All good and well, but how will customers get hold of the new not-so-black-gold for their tanks? This critical aspect has not been overlooked, with both companies planning to work together with stakeholders to “further advance refuelling infrastructure.”
If they can get this right, they'll avoid the big bug-bear of limited-range battery-powered vehicles as fuel cells can power cars for up to 640km and can be refuelled in just three minutes. What's more, the only thing emitted from these vehicles is water vapour.
As mentioned, GM and Honda both have considerable experience in building fuel cell vehicles.
GM's Project Driveway program, launched in 2007, has accumulated nearly 4.8-million kilometres of real-world driving in a fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles.
Honda began leasing its FCX in 2002 and has deployed 85 units in the U.S. and Japan, including its successor, the FCX Clarity, which was named the 2009 World Green Car.
Honda has delivered these vehicles to the hands of customers in the U.S. and collected valuable data concerning real-world use of fuel cell electric vehicles.
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.