GM and Honda Team Up on Fuel Cell Technology

Source: GM.com, Project Driveway Program. GM’s Project Driveway program, launched in 2007, has accumulated nearly 3 million miles of real-world driving in a fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles.

General Motors (NYSE: GM  ) and Honda (NYSE: HMC  ) announced today a long-term agreement aimed at co-developing commercially feasible fuel cell technology by around 2020.

The two automakers said they plan to pool their resources, capitalizing on shared expertise, economies of scale, and common sourcing strategies to make their goals concerning next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies a reality.

"This collaboration builds upon Honda and GM's strengths as leaders in hydrogen fuel cell technology," said GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson in a statement today. "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."

Honda President and CEO Takanobu Ito was quoted in the same press release as saying, "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."

Fuel cell vehicles have electric motors that are powered by a chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. Ford, Daimler and Renault-Nissan announced a similar plan to collaborate on hydrogen vehicles earlier this year. GM and Honda said they will also push for more refueling infrastructure. The companies said fuel cell vehicles can have up to 400 miles driving range and can be refueled in as little as three minutes.

The auto companies said that according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index, they hold the top two spots with more than 1,200 fuel cell patents collectively filed between 2002 and 2012. GM is currently experimenting with 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles, while Honda has 85 units on the road.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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