G.M.-Honda Partnership Aims for Fuel Cell by End of Decade

General Motors and Honda will develop and share a hydrogen fuel cell for vehicles they would produce around the end of the decade, the automakers announced on Tuesday,Lindsay Brooke reports in The New York Times.

Speaking in Manhattan, G.M.’s vice chairman, Stephen Girsky, and the president of American Honda, Tetsuo Iwamura, said that by collaborating on a common design and components, they would lower costs and reduce development time.

They said they would also work with energy suppliers and state and local governments to expand the network of hydrogen refueling stations, a critical element in fostering consumer acceptance of fuel-cell vehicles.

Fuel cells, which combine hydrogen gas stored in the vehicle with oxygen from the atmosphere to generate electricity, offer driving distances and refueling times equivalent to those of gasoline-powered cars. Though the electricity is produced on board, rather than drawn from a battery pack, the vehicles qualify as zero-emission because the only byproduct is water vapor. Many researchers regard fuel cells as more promising than batteries as an electricity source for vehicles.

Fuel cells also are expected to play an important role in the federal fuel economy regulations set for 2017 to 2025. A section of those rules allows each fuel-cell vehicle to count as 1.75 conventional vehicles in 2020 and 1.5 vehicles in 2021. Such credits enable automakers to somewhat offset the fuel economy of less-efficient vehicles like sport utility vehicles and large trucks.