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Honda Motor Company and General Motors (GM) have announced that they are going to establish a manufacturing plant, Fuel Cell system Manufacturing (FCSM), which will manufacture an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system on a mass scale. This plant will be based out of GM’s existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Brownstown, Michigan in the USA. Both companies are making equal investment amounting to Rs. 571 crore in to this joint venture.
At a time where the auto industry is investing in greener tech to use sustainable fuels and reduce emissions, this move will be crucial in the future of the industry. Fuel cell powered vehicles operate using compressed hydrogen and oxygen with the only emissions being water vapour. Fuel cells are rather expensive to produce though, and hence haven’t gained mass appeal yet. With these two auto giants investing in them, the technology might just become viable.
Honda and GM are focusing on way to reduce the cost of development and manufacturing, through economies of scale and common sourcing. Both companies will work with various governments to develop a refuelling infrastructure as well, which is critical for the long term viability of the fuel cell powered cars.
Honda already have a fuel cell vehicle in the market, available in Japan and USA. Called the Clarity Fuel Cell, it has a range of nearly 600km in a single tank. This is just the first generation of the car and both Honda and GM are using learnings from this vehicle (in terms of both technology and market acceptance) to go ahead with future projects.