GM has just announced that it will partner with Honda in an apparent industry-first move to mass produce fuel cell systems. Production will take place in Brownstone, MI at a plant GM has already been using to produce its own battery packs.
Shelling out a total of $85 million, split evenly between Honda and GM, the production facility will create around 100 jobs when production is full speed ahead in 2020. Developing a new propulsion technology isn't cheap, so the two auto giants decided to partner in an effort to reduce development and manufacturing costs by common sourcing and massive production capabilities shared between the two—plus, they are leaders in fuel cell technology, sharing a collective 2,200 fuel cell-related patents between them.
Mark Reuss, GM EVP of Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain, said: "The combination of two leaders in fuel cell innovation is an exciting development in bringing fuel cells closer to the mainstream of propulsion applications. The eventual deployment of this technology in passenger vehicles will create more differentiated and environmentally friendly transportation options for consumers."
Fuel cells rely on hydrogen—which can be made from renewable sources, like wind—for fuel, and the only byproduct is water. It's a technology that seems almost too good to be true, but whose development has been shadowed by advances in EV technology and its subsequent increasing adoption. With two of the biggest automotive manufactures partnering in bringing this technology to fruition, we'll eventually begin to see it in both future Honda and GM models.