Honda and General Motors may take their cooperation on hydrogen fuel cell technology to the next level by opening a joint factory to produce the components. If the plan comes to fruition, the two automakers could open the plant by 2025 at the latest. “By cutting costs with General Motors, we hope to increase our FCV production capacity to help achieve the government’s goal,” and anonymous Honda official told The Asahi Shimbun.
The Japanese newspaper didn’t specify where the companies might build the factory, but the plant would allow the automakers to share the expensive costs of mass-producing fuel cells. Honda and GM would continue to independently develop the actual vehicles that would use these components.
The automakers teamed up in 2013 to split the massive investment that’s required to develop fuel cell components. Despite years of research focused on driving costs down, the amount of money required to build a hydrogen car can quickly add up for any company because of the expensive metals that the fuel cell stacks require, and there’s the additional expense of creating technology in this still burgeoning field. By sharing common parts, Honda and GM can lower prices through economies of scale.
Both automakers continue to move forward with hydrogen vehicles. For example, the Honda Clarity Fuel Cell (pictured above) launches in Japan this year, and it should help the country’s goal to have as many FCVs on the road as possible in time for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. Meanwhile, GM has a fleet of fuel-cell test vehicles that has driven over 3 million miles.