Honda Motor Co. has announced plans to begin producing a new hydrogen fuel cell system in collaboration with General Motors Co. this year. The company intends to increase the sales of this system gradually in the coming decade.
According to Honda's senior managing executive director, Shinji Aoyama, production of the fuel cell system will commence through the joint venture with GM.
Honda is hoping to expand the usage of its new system for a wide range of applications, including its own fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), heavy trucks, stationary power stations, and construction machinery. The company aims to sell approximately 2,000 units of the new system annually by the mid-2020s and then increase that number to 60,000 units per year by 2030.
The next-generation fuel cell system promises to offer more than double the durability compared to the older system and bring down costs by two-thirds. This move by Honda is in line with its goal to promote sustainable and eco-friendly technologies.
"While commercial vehicles are in use all over the world, they'll likely see electrification just as with passenger cars," Tetsuya Hasebe, general manager of Honda's hydrogen business development division said.
That would likely lead to a divergence in trucks using batteries and those running on fuel cells, he added.
FCEVs are vehicles that run on electricity generated by hydrogen fuel cells instead of batteries. This technology has been gaining popularity as an alternative to traditional gasoline-powered vehicles and battery-powered electric vehicles (EVs).
A fuel cell is a device that converts hydrogen into electricity through an electrochemical process. In an FCEV, hydrogen is stored in a fuel tank and is fed into a fuel cell stack. The stack then combines the hydrogen with oxygen to produce electricity, which powers the vehicle's electric motor.
One of the key benefits of FCEVs is their longer driving range compared to EVs. They can typically travel for more than 300 miles on a single tank of hydrogen, compared to the average electric car range of around 200 miles. Additionally, hydrogen refueling stations are much faster than charging stations for EVs, with most FCEVs able to refuel in just a few minutes.
FCEVs also have the advantage of producing only water as a byproduct, compared to traditional gasoline vehicles that emit harmful pollutants. Additionally, hydrogen production can come from renewable sources, making FCEVs a clean and sustainable form of transportation.
However, the main challenge facing FCEVs is the lack of hydrogen fueling infrastructure. There are currently only a few hundred hydrogen fueling stations in the United States, making it difficult for FCEVs to gain widespread adoption. Despite this, many major automakers are investing in FCEV technology, and it is likely that we will see more of these vehicles on the roads in the coming years.