A tank of hydrogen, please
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General Motors and Honda have announced a joint venture to mass-produce an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system.
The first hydrogen collaboration of its kind for the auto industry, Fuel Cell System Manufacturing will take place in GM's existing battery pack manufacturing plant in Michigan.
Mass production of fuel cell systems is expected to begin around 2020.
The companies are making equal investments totalling NZ$116.7 million in the venture.
Honda and GM's master collaboration agreement, announced in July 2013, is establishing the co-development arrangement for a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies.
"Over the past three years, engineers from Honda and GM have been working as one team with each company providing know-how from its unique expertise to create a compact and low-cost next-generation fuel cell system," said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, chief operating officer of the North American Region for Honda Motor, president and CEO of American Honda, and Honda North America.
He said the teamwork would lead to the stage of joint mass production of a fuel cell system for fuel cell vehicles of the future.
GM and Honda have more than 2220 patents between them, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. GM and Honda rank first and third, respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed in 2002 through 2015.
Hyundai is also pushing hydrogen with fleet trials in Europe.
Honda began delivery of its Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle to US customers in December 2016 after its launch in Japan.
The vehicle received the best driving range rating from the EPA of any electric vehicle without a combustion engine, with a range of 540 km and fuel economy rating of 3.4 litres per 100km.
Hydrogen is the most numerous chemical element, making it the perfect candidate for an energy source - but there's a catch - it isn't a pre-existing source like fossil fuel's sitting stationary under our feet, hydrogen needs to be produced and stored much like batteries are nowadays.
Should GM and Honda succeed in developing the technology to produce, store and power electric engines with hydrogen, it would be a a game changer.