General Motors and Honda announced today that they are starting a joint venture to build a hydrogen fuel cell that will be used in future products from both companies. It's the first joint venture in the auto industry to produce the cells, and they will be built at GM's existing Brownstone, MI factory.
The two automakers have been working together on developing fuel cell technology since 2013, in order to help standardize the cell system as well as hydrogen storage technologies. The partnership has lead to the new, next-generation fuel cell that they will be sharing in future vehicles. Since they have already integrated their engineering teams and shared new developments, the co-production is a logical step. The Michigan factory that will produce the fuel cells starting around 2020 is already the facility where GM produces battery packs for hybrid and electric vehicles.
Honda is currently selling their Clarity fuel cell powered car in the US and Japan. That car has a fuel cell hand built in Tochigi, Japan. Once the new factory is online and the cells are going into a new generation of fuel cell vehicle, Honda expects to stop production at that plant in favour of this new venture.
It's not the first powertrain collaboration for the two automakers, with a previous deal seeing Honda V6 engines in the Saturn Vue and GM diesels in European Hondas. Honda is also working with several other automakers to help promote hydrogen in cars.