Honda and General Motors (GM) are to collaborate on the development of the next-generation of hydrogen fuel cell cars and supporting infrastructure.

The two car giants plan to work together to develop advanced new fuel cell systems and hydrogen storage technologies by 2020.

Between them they will also work with stakeholders to help develop refuelling infrastructure as the first fuel cell cars begin to appear on the market by 2015.

While GM has been trialling hydrogen-fuelled cars since 2007 as part of its Project Driveway scheme, acquiring 3 million miles of real-world driving, Honda is one step ahead, having been leasing its limited production FCX Clarity in the US and Japan since 2002.

The Japanese car brand has already announced that it will launch a successor to the FCX Clarity in 2015, in the US, Japan and later, in Europe while GM is expected to announce fuel cell production plans at a later date.

Both firms consider that fuel cell technology is the best fit, addressing many of the major challenges facing automobiles today – fossil fuel dependency, emissions, efficiency, range and refuelling times.

With possibility of using renewable energy to generate hydrogen, it could be possible for the cars to be truly zero emission, emitting at their tailpipes, nothing but water vapour. With driving ranges of around 400 miles and refuelling in as little as three minutes, fuel cell vehicles could be a more convenient solution to cleaning up transport.

“This collaboration builds upon Honda and GM’s strengths as leaders in hydrogen fuel cell technology,” said Dan Akerson, GM chairman and CEO. “We are convinced this is the best way to develop this important technology, which has the potential to help reduce the dependence on petroleum and establish sustainable mobility.”

Takanobu Ito, President and CEO of Honda Motor Co. Ltd. said: “Among all zero CO2 emission technologies, fuel cell electric vehicles have a definitive advantage with range and refueling time that is as good as conventional gasoline cars. Honda and GM are eager to accelerate the market penetration of this ultimate clean mobility technology, and I am excited to form this collaboration to fuse our leading fuel cell technologies and create an advanced system that will be both more capable and more affordable.”

Source: The Green Car Website