$85m fuel cell system manufacturing joint venture set up

February 02, 2017 // By Nick Flaherty
General Motors and Honda have set up an $85m manufacturing joint venture to mass produce hydrogen fuel cell systems that will be used in future products from each company.

Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM) will operate within GM’s existing battery pack manufacturing facility site in Brownstown, Michigan, south of Detroit. Mass production of fuel cell systems is expected to begin around 2020 and create nearly 100 new jobs. The companies are making equal investments totaling $85 million in the joint venture.

The two companies have been working together since July 2013 on a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies. The companies integrated their development teams and shared hydrogen fuel cell intellectual property to create a more affordable commercial solution for fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems, generating over 2200 patents. 

“Over the past three years, engineers from Honda and GM have been working as one team with each company providing know-how from its unique expertise to create a compact and low-cost next-generation fuel cell system,” said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, chief operating officer of the North American Region for Honda. “This will now take us to the stage of joint mass production of a fuel cell system that will help each company create new value for our customers in fuel cell vehicles of the future.”

The joint venture will be operated by a board of directors consisting of three executives from each company that will include a rotating chairperson. 

“The combination of two leaders in fuel cell innovation is an exciting development in bringing fuel cells closer to the mainstream of propulsion applications,” said Mark Reuss, executive vice president for Global Product Development, Purchasing and Supply Chain at GM. “The eventual deployment of this technology in passenger vehicles will create more differentiated and environmentally friendly transportation options for consumers.”

GM is currently demonstrating the capability of fuel cells across a range of land, sea and air applications and has accumulated millions of miles of real-world driving in fuel cell vehicles.

Honda began delivery of its all-new Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle to US customers in December 2016 with a range rating