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GM-Honda Joint Venture That Will Supply a Fuel-Cell Honda CR-V Opens in Michigan

fuel cell systems manufacturing, llc on tuesday, november 14, 2023 in brownstown township, michigan fcsm is a general motors fuel cell joint venture with honda motors photo by santa fabio for general motors
GM-Honda Fuel Cell JV Starts ProductionHonda and General Motors
  • Fuel Cell System Manufacturing has commenced commercial production of hydrogen fuel cells for future EVs at a GM-Honda joint venture facility in Brownstown, Michigan.

  • The joint venture was first announced in 2017, with manufacturing then slated to kick off in 2020.

  • Honda's next fuel-cell vehicle will be a hydrogen-powered SUV based on the CR-V.

Tom Petty knows better than almost anyone that the waiting is the hardest part. Except, perhaps, for hardcore fans of hydrogen-based vehicle propulsion. After announcing a major joint venture in 2017 dedicated to building hydrogen fuel-cell powertrains for electric vehicles, General Motors and Honda kept us waiting with bated breath well past its initial production estimate of 2020. But things are finally moving along.

Honda and GM on Thursday announced that their joint venture, the imaginatively titled Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM), has started commercial production of hydrogen fuel cells on site. FCSM is operating out of GM's Brownstown, Michigan facility, which currently manufactures battery packs for the GMC Hummer EV and Cadillac Lyriq. It also builds the roof module for Cruise's autonomous development vehicles, but GM is perhaps less than jazzed to point to that tidbit at this juncture.

The JV was first announced in 2017, alongside a combined $85 million investment. Production was originally slated for 2020, but, you know, things come up, and a whole lot has happened since then. But FCSM doesn't have a whole lot of time to waste, though; Honda announced in early 2023 that its next fuel-cell vehicle will be a hydrogen-powered CR-V, relying on the fuel cell that Honda and GM jointly developed, with production scheduled to commence this year. And according to the company's just-released business strategy, 2024 remains the hydrogen CR-V's target date.

honda crv hydrogen
Honda

There is still a whole lot we don't know about FCSM's new fuel cell. In the release discussing the start of fuel-cell production, Honda claims that this new system is one-third less expensive to produce than the hardware that underpinned the Clarity, thanks to a variety of factors including a reduction of precious metals and a new cell design.

GM and Honda make for interesting bedfellows. The two automakers aren't just collaborating on hydrogen-based EVs; Honda's new electric Prologue SUV utilizes GM's Ultium battery pack and rides on a co-developed platform. It's less clear what the future holds, though. While the two automakers promised a whole kissin'-cousin lineup of electric compact crossovers, news broke last October that the pair consciously uncoupled from that plan, claiming it no longer made business sense.

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