All of the major automakers have agreed to put a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle into the commercial marketplace by 2015, even if there is very little infrastructure to support them. In fact, Hyundai has beaten this deadline and is rolling out its FCEV’s now.
But, the fuel cell vehicles which do, in fact, rollout for the 2015 are expected to be at a premium price, in small quantities and in the vicinity of fueling station clusters. As we’ve seen with commercial battery-electric cars it may take a few years to get the momentum rolling.
And this is what Honda and GM are thinking as they have agreed to partner up for the next generation of fuel cells to be rolled out in vehicles in the 2020 time-frame. By partnering, both GM and Honda can cut costs by sharing technology (saving time and money), sourcing parts in bulk, and economies of scale.
Since 2007, GM has been testing FCV’s and gathering valuable road-test data in its Project Driveway program. The program has 119 fuel cell vehicles at any one time in circulation being tested.
In 2002, Honda began leasing the FCX and then followed by the FCX Clarity with 85 vehicles in circulation in which they’ve been collecting data from real world drivers. In 2015, Honda plans to offer the successor to the FCX Clarity for commercial sale.
So, you can see that both of these companies, with more than 1,200 fuel cell patents between them have a lot to offer each other in a partnership such as this.