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GM, Honda launch fuel cell production at Michigan site

Posted By: The Detroit News on January 25, 2024.  For more information, please click here to read the source article.

General Motors Co. and Honda Motor Co. have launched commercial production of jointly developed fuel cells systems at their manufacturing site here, the companies said Thursday.

Workers at the Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC plant, the first large-scale manufacturing joint venture to build fuel cells, develop fuel cell systems for both companies. The competing automakers then sell or use the systems separately. The facility covers 70,000 square feet.

Honda and GM engineers started working together in 2013 to develop the next-generation fuel cell system. The companies established FCSM in the Downriver township in January 2017 based on a joint investment of $85 million. The facility will create 80 jobs to make hydrogen power solutions for various applications.

Hydrogen fuel cells are a key part of the Detroit automaker’s electrification strategy because the technology has the capability to power larger modes of transportation, from semis to trains, free of emissions.

“GM views fuel cells as being a complement to lithium-ion battery technology. Each has a role to play,” said Charlie Freese, GM executive director, Hydrotec. “Fuel cells uniquely fill the need of the heaviest, most capable vehicles that carry the largest payloads, the longest distances, and also require fast refueling to make that work.”

GM and Autocar Industries LLC in December announced they signed a joint development agreement to create vocational vehicles powered by GM’s Hydrotec hydrogen fuel cell power cubes. The partnership will give Autocar, a customized vocational trucks company, the opportunity to access fuel cell technology that will support customer needs to meet Environmental Protection Agency requirements.

Also in December, GM and Komatsu, a global manufacturer of mining and construction equipment, will jointly design and validate the technology that will be used for Komatsu’s 930E electric drive mining truck.

Honda hasn’t announced any specific customers for the fuel cell systems, but later this year it will introduce an all-new CR-V fuel cell electric vehicle that will be sold in California, where hydrogen fueling stations exist. The CR-V fuel cell vehicle will be built at the HondaPerformance Manufacturing Center in Marysville, Ohio.

Honda also plans to market the fuel cells for commercial vehicles, stationary power stations andconstruction machinery. The company expects initial sales of 2,000 units per year by mid-decade. GM hasn’t provided any initial sales expectations.

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