Honda and GM demonstrate hydrogen cars can work

GM-Honda Company decades of fuel cell researches have resulted in a two-thirds cost reduction mainly by minimizing platinum usage in the cells and the advantages of large-scale production.

Honda and GM demonstrate hydrogen cars can work

Michigan- US, Honda revealed the production model of its CR-V e: FCEV plug-in, which goes on lease sale to customers in Japan and the US later this year. The FCEV is powered with a fuel cell system manufactured by Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM), a joint venture between GM and Honda located in Michigan.

The CR-V e:FCEV, manufactured in Ohio at Honda's Performance Manufacturing Centre, offers a range of 372 miles / 595 kilometers on hydrogen, plus 37 miles / 59 kilometers on battery, with refueling times akin to traditional cars.

In January, FCSM started mass production of fuel cell systems. Notably, Honda claims that this represents the first large-scale production of hydrogen fuel cell systems.

Fuel cells utilize hydrogen and oxygen from the air, generating electricity, water, and heat as by-products, without emitting CO2 or toxic substances. Like batteries, hydrogen fuel cells consist of a stack of small cells that produce the necessary electrical power. However, beyond this structural similarity, their operational mechanisms differ.

The GM-Honda system generates approximately 92kW of electrical energy, with the drive motor-generator delivering 174bhp and 229lb ft of torque. The battery has a capacity of 17.7kWh, while the hydrogen fuel, stored in tanks at 10,000psi, is in gaseous form.

The significant development is the potential culmination of decades of research and development in fuel cell systems. The cost of the system has been reduced by two-thirds compared to the 2019 Honda Clarity FCEV, partly through a reduction in platinum usage as a catalyst in the cells and the advantages of large-scale production.

The durability of the system has reportedly doubled, and it has become more resilient to low-temperature operation, a long-standing challenge with fuel cell systems due to the internal water production. Moreover, size and weight have been reduced, while vibration and noise have been further improved compared to the Clarity.

The primary challenge for FCEVs remains the availability, or rather the lack thereof, of a hydrogen network. As a practical option in the UK, FCEVs are still not feasible. In the US, there were 59 stations by the end of 2023, but this number is projected to surge to 4,300 by 2030, according to Statista.