In a significant development in hydrogen fuel cell technology, General Motors (GM) and Honda have officially commenced production at their 50-50 joint venture facility, Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM). Located in Brownstown, Michigan, FCSM is the first large-scale manufacturing joint venture exclusively dedicated to fuel cell production.
Established in January 2017 with a joint investment of $85 million, the 70,000-square-foot facility has already generated 80 jobs. The hydrogen power solutions produced at FCSM will be integrated into various product applications and business ventures by both companies.
'This marks a historic milestone as GM and Honda become the first to initiate volume production of fuel cells for transportation and beyond through a full fuel cell system manufacturing joint venture,' stated Suheb Haq, President of FCSM. He emphasized the ongoing commitment to creating high-quality, durable, and affordable hydrogen fuel cell systems for diverse applications.
Tetsuo Suzuki, Vice President of FCSM, highlighted the collaborative efforts that integrated the strengths of both Honda and GM, resulting in a highly capable production system. The joint venture's focus on mass production, attention to detail, and commitment to quality positions them to meet the future needs of customers in the era of hydrogen technology.
The collaboration between Honda and GM began in 2013, with engineers co-developing the next-generation fuel cell system. Beyond improving fuel cell performance, the companies doubled durability compared to the 2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell by using corrosion-resistant materials and enhancing low-temperature operation.
To lower development and manufacturing costs, the joint venture employed strategies such as leveraging economies of scale, advancing cell design, simplifying supporting equipment, and reducing the use of expensive precious metals. As a result, the new fuel cell systems are expected to be one-third less expensive to produce than the 2019 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell.
FCSM has prioritised quality and manufacturing productivity, incorporating innovative methods for automating membrane-electrode-assembly production and fuel cell stack assembly. Both GM and Honda's engineering teams, along with their intellectual property and expertise, have been seamlessly integrated at FCSM to deliver affordable, commercially viable hydrogen fuel cell systems.
Both GM and Honda are confident in the increasing role of hydrogen and fuel cell technology in addressing zero-emissions energy and mobility needs. The joint venture signifies a significant step towards their shared vision, with each company detailing individual strategies for their hydrogen business initiatives.