General Motors and Honda have announced a long-term, definitive master agreement to co-develop next-generation technologies for fuel cell and hydrogen storage, aimed for 2020.

An emphasis will be placed on refuelling infrastructure, which the carmakers believe “is critical for the long-term viability and consumer acceptance of fuel cell vehicles.”

“This collaboration builds upon Honda and GM’s strengths as leaders in hydrogen fuel cell technology,” said GM chairman and CEO Dan Akerson. “We are convinced this is the best way to develop this important technology.”

“Among all zero CO2 emission technologies, fuel cell electric vehicles have a definitive advantage with range and refuelling time that is as good as conventional cars,” said Honda Motor Co Ltd president and CEO Takanobu Ito.


According to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index, GM and Honda rank No 1 and No 2 respectively, in total fuel cell patents filed between 2002 and 2012, with more than 1,200 between them.

GM’s Project Driveway program, launched in 2007, has accumulated nearly three million miles of real-world driving in a fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered vehicles – more than any other carmaker.

85 units of the Honda FCX and FCX Clarity (pictured) have been deployed in the US and Japan since leasing began in 2002, with valuable data concerning real-world fuel cell vehicle use having been collected.

The FCX Clarity’s successor is planned for launch in the US and Japan in 2015, while GM will announce its fuel cell production plans at a later date.

Other carmakers that have signed agreements or memoranda in this field include Ford-Daimler-Nissan and BMW-Toyota. Hyundai has already started rolling out the ix35 Fuel Cell, making it the first carmaker to commercially produce hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.