To paraphrase the old political adage, it's the cost, stupid. Dollar signs are what's prompting Honda and General Motors to partner up to accelerate development of a hydrogen fuel cell system. With about half the cost of a fuel-cell system tied up in its fuel-cell stack, GM and Honda are looking to help each other drive costs down, according to a presentation by GM fuel cell research and development director Mark Mathias said in a presentation at the SAE 2014 Hybrid & Electric Vehicle Technologies Symposium.

According to Green Car Congress, Honda and GM are looking to reap the fruits of their collective labor by 2020. As with other automakers, the high cost of producing fuel-cell vehicles is the fly in the ointment of a powertrain technology that combines the same range as gas-powered vehicles but with zero emissions. In the meantime, Honda, which makes the very limited production FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle, is slated to start selling its own mass-market fuel-cell vehicle in 2015.

The two automakers made their partnership announcement last summer and said they contribute to expanding hydrogen fuel infrastructure in California during the next few years. Earlier, Ford, Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler and Nissan also said they would work together to speed up fuel-cell technology development.


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  • 32 Comments
      Letstakeawalk
      • 1 Year Ago
      :) Keep bringing the costs down, guys.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      --"We are working on fuel cell conversion and hydrogen storage technology; multiple generations, our current focus is 2020, but the intent will be to go beyond that. The big thing is we want to use common component system design to achieve economies of scale." —Mark Mathias Although Honda will launch their FCV in very limited numbers by the 2015 "timeframe", GM won't. Their looking at 2020. By that time... the entire industry will have changed. By 2020, all of their "flat line graphs" about BEVs and all of their stale predictions will need to be recalculated. And FCVs would have missed the boat.
        markrogo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Joeviocoe
        2020 global EV sales will be >1% of total vehicle sales. 2020 hydrogen FCV sales?
      goodoldgorr
      • 1 Year Ago
      The success lie in cheap abundant odorless hydrogen gas made at the point of sale by efficient water electrolysis. As soon as it hit the market tesla shares will decline as their supercharger network and model s but maybe their battery gigafactory night survive because fuelcell cars need battery.
        mustang_sallad
        • 1 Year Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        water electrolysis isn't efficient and you also have to compress the hydrogen which also isn't efficient, (using charging a battery at %90+ efficiency as a baseline)
        markrogo
        • 1 Year Ago
        @goodoldgorr
        Yes, "efficient" electrolysis! That only burns up 30% of the electricity. And then whatever is wasted compressing, transporting, recompressing... Yes! That is most certainly the answer so long as we (a) have limitless low cost electricity and also (b) never invent a decent battery.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @markrogo
          Cheap, inexpensive solar... something something
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @markrogo
          3 times the solar panels would be required to drive a battery vehicle the same distance. THAT is a measure of efficiency.... This whole thing... just so people won't change their habits of going to a central fueling station every week for a 5 minute fillup.
      rick.danger
      • 1 Year Ago
      Just imagine how far along BEVs would be now if the automakers worked together to get costs down.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rick.danger
        Automakers have been working together on BEVs since the 1990's. USABC, USCAR, PNGV, Freedom CAR. That's why BEVs are where they are. http://www.uscar.org/guest/teams/12/U-S-Advanced-Battery-Consortium-LLC http://www1.eere.energy.gov/vehiclesandfuels/pdfs/merit_review_2012/energy_storage/es097_snyder_2012_o.pdf
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Letstakeawalk
          Automakers have been 'working on' lot of things in their R&D departments. Up until 2010, their commitment went as far as creating Compliance vehicles to satisfy the bare minimum requirements for the state of California. Once it became easier/cheaper to Lobby the mandates to death, automakers will kill off their own projects.
        aatheus
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rick.danger
        That would be wonderful. But BEVs have fewer things to service, so they would never do that. Gotta protect their dealers!
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm guessing that 2020 will be the next 2015.
        Dave
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Have you ever actually read the letter of understanding? http://www.hydrogenlink.net/download/LoU-fuelcell-cars.pdf
          Joeviocoe
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Dave
          yes, I have been posting the link for years. http://www.h2carblog.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/Letter-of-Understanding.pdf "Therefore a Hydrogen Infrastructure network with sufficient density is required by 2015." Looks like they are missing that deadline. Which means that automakers will begin to backpedal out of the agreement.
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        The Great Backpedal is upon us!
        danfred311
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Spec
        Naw man, it's all going to happen in 2015 :) Toyota knows what they are doing. They are not stupid :)
      danfred311
      • 1 Year Ago
      GM is lead by global warming denying nitwits of course but if they wanted to do something smart (beyond the obvious electrification with aerodynamics and low weight), they should start an aggressive research program into compact fusion reactors, small and safe enough for vehicle use. That would make hydrogen interesting.
        skierpage
        • 1 Year Ago
        @danfred311
        The nitwit is you. Lutz is long gone, "GM CEO Akerson Believes In Global Warming." Compact fusion reactor designs (none of which actually work and aren't scheduled to work for a decade on even the most optimistic timelines) are still the size of a truck *without* the equipment to turn energy into electricity, will weigh tons, and require mechanical isolation for the magnetic containment to work. Vehicle use is fantasy piled on fantasy built on speculation, and instructing a car company to spend money on is the arrogant arrant nonsense you reliably deliver.
      Joeviocoe
      • 1 Year Ago
      Danny... your Headline misunderstood the source article. Although GM's Mark Mathias mentioned that Infrastructure costs .... "Obviously it involves both the vehicle and the infrastructure and the hydrogen supply, so there are a lot of elements to this" He mentioned NO planning to make H2 FUELING costs cheaper... this collaboration between GM and Honda is about making Fuel Cell VEHICLES cheaper. ------------------------ Good on them for trying. They need to. But they can only do so much with the technology... before costs would need to come down with large volume Economies of Scale... which will NOT happen by 2015, and likely not happen until well after 2020. As of Launch in 2015, I am predicting Honda will offer a California-only limited FCV only available at select Los Angeles dealerships... and we'll be lucky if they are available for sale rather than lease-only like Hyundai. And I predict a price between $60k - $75k So although Mathias may be bearish on BEVs.... the initial fruit of this endeavor will just as expensive as a Model S, with none of the capability. Going 300+ miles is useless without an infrastructure. And Tesla's Superchargers enable much farther trips already.
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      Here's what our CEO class has done to China, remember, they said they didn't move to China to avoid EPA Regulations. Well, here's the Capitalistic Nirvana they've created: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/25/china-toxic-air-pollution-nuclear-winter-scientists
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      More hydrogen, the JOKE of the Century.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Looks like tipical corruption in the auto industree to me. The fuel tanks should be filled with water not hydrogen and split in the vehicle itself. Indeviduals could fill their cars from their tap at home and this would remove the need for hydrogen fueling stations. Free fuel from the tap is what they are scared shittless ov simple because it will make current fuel industree broke over night if they produce water splitting hydrogen engines.
        k3ith
        • 1 Year Ago
        You didn't pay attention in high school chemistry class did you?
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      "Shares of Plug Power Inc. (PLUG) surged in premarket trading Wednesday after the fuel cell maker revealed that it had received an order from Wal-Mart Stores Inc. (WMT) for its hydrogen fuel cells to power electric lift truck fleets at six of the retailer's North America distribution centers by the second quarter of 2014. Walmart has ordered a total of 1,738 the company's GenDrive fuel cell units, to be deployed over two years, along with construction of the needed infrastructure, the hydrogen fuel supply and six-year service contracts for each site. Walmart said: "We are pleased with the performance of the hydrogen fuel cells that we have been operating and are excited to expand our program with Plug Power." These fuel cells can contribute to an increase in productivity, as workers spend less time fueling forklift trucks, resulting in less downtime. Plug Power CEO Andy Marsh said: This agreement is a tripling of Walmart's commitment to Plug Power's fuel cells, and is encouraging because it comes from a company with so much experience using our product. This is a milestone for Plug Power and its ongoing business relationship with Walmart. … We have proven to be a trusted partner and are confident that GenKey will enhance Walmart's material handling operations. Shares of Plug Power were up about 13.6% to $4.43 in premarket trading Wednesday. The 52-week range is $0.12 to $4.90." http://finance.yahoo.com/news/walmart-triples-hydrogen-fuel-cell-124534326.html
        Joeviocoe
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        Hmmm.... that is nice. But really these companies are gaining from Hydrogen products that are stationary or for forklifts. And Quantum made their money from Natural Gas product lines. Seems like these companies are doing well finding their niches outside of Automotive applications.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        Shares in many hydrogen-related companies have been doing extremely well. http://www.renewableenergyworld.com/rea/news/article/2013/12/hydrogen-stocks-more-than-double-in-2013-why-the-pros-missed-the-ride
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      This is, I guess, insight into the Republican mind. So delusional and incompetent, still denying climate change, and coming up with solutions to make climate change happen at an ACCELERATED Pace, while we take damage from climate change NOW. January 4th Warmest Globally Since 1880 http://climatecrocks.com/2014/02/25/january-4th-warmest-globally-since-1880/ Republican Capitalists seem to make policy as if they were feeble minded idiots. It's as if they have lost touch with REALITY. They've surrounded themselves with YES Men for So Long they're not capable of Rational Thought. Not content to plug their ears with their finger's they've created a FAKE News Network to Repeat the Lies They Tell Themselves. That doesn't change the fact that Fox Clowns is now the MOST DISRESPECTED "News" Network in the World.
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