Commercial production kicks off at GM-Honda hydrogen fuel cell facility

Commercial production kicks off at GM-Honda hydrogen fuel cell facility

January 29, 2024 1 By Angie Bergenson

The companies are co-developing a next-gen fuel cell system.

GM and Honda announced they have begun production at their 50-50 joint venture hydrogen fuel cell production facility, Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC (FCSM), in Brownstown, Michigan.

A first-of-its-kind manufacturing joint venture.

What makes the announcement particularly noteworthy is that FCSM is the first large-scale manufacturing joint venture to build fuel cells.

Back in 2013, engineers from Honda and GM began working on the co-development of the next-generation hydrogen fuel cell system. Byond simply advancing the performance of fuel cells, the companies worked together to double durability compared to the 2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell by utilizing materials resistant to corrosion and by improving low-temperature operation.

They also collaborated to lower development and manufacturing costs. The companies believe this is possible by reducing the use of expensive precious metals, leveraging economies of scale, simplifying supporting auxiliary equipment, making advancements to the cell design, and using common sourcing.

As for FCSM, it was established in Brownstown back in January 2017. The 70,000 square-foot facility builds world-class hydrogen power solutions and has already created 80 jobs.

The hydrogen fuel cell solutions built at the facility will serve various purposes.

Both Honda and GM intend to use the hydrogen fuel cell solutions built at the facility in multiple product applications and business ventures.

Hydrogen fuel cell - Employee working at FCSM facility - FCSM34

An employee assembles a fuel cell system in the module final assembly at Fuel Cell System Manufacturing LLC, GM and Honda’s fuel cell joint venture in Brownstown, Michigan (Photo by Santa Fabio for General Motors) – Image source: Honda

“This is a historic day for the industry as GM and Honda are the first full fuel cell system manufacturing joint venture to begin volume production of fuel cells for transportation and beyond,” said FCSM president Suheb Haq in a recent news release.

Haq added that the process is started with raw materials for membrane and electrode “all the way through the complete systems”. The FCSM president also said that the continual commitment and investment from both Honda and GM is driving FCSM’s success.

“This commitment aligns with our mission of making high quality, durable and affordable hydrogen fuel cell systems for a wide range of applications and customers,” said Haq.

Integrating the strengths of the two automaker powerhouses.

hydrogen news ebook“We integrated the strengths of Honda and GM to create the most capable production system at this joint venture. We brought a mass production mindset with attention to detail and a focus on high quality, and now we are ready to meet the needs of the customers for the future applications of fuel cell technology and the beginning of the hydrogen era,” said Tetsuo Suzuki, vice president of FCSM.

Via the collaboration, the new hydrogen fuel cell systems will reportedly be one-third less the cost to make than the fuel cell systems used in the 2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell vehicle.

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