Honda, GM to develop eco-car batteries, sources say

Posted Jan. 05, 2014, at 3:33 p.m.

TOKYO — Honda Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are expected to jointly develop batteries for fuel-cell vehicles, with the aim of lowering the cost of fuel-cell cars by improving volume efficiency, according to sources.

The firms hope to take the initiative in the next-generation eco-car market, observers said.

A fuel-cell vehicle is viewed as the “ultimate eco-car” as it does not emit exhaust gases such as carbon dioxide while in operation.

Honda and GM plan to jointly produce a core part of a fuel-cell system that can create electricity through a chemical reaction between hydrogen in the fuel cell and oxygen in the air.

Unlike a gasoline-fuel vehicle, a fuel-cell car uses many special parts, and the production cost will likely be about $95,550 per unit. The automakers aim to lower the retail price of the cars to several million yen by mass-producing its most costly special parts, according to observers.

Honda and GM formed a business alliance in July 2013 to co-develop auto parts for fuel-cell cars. Engineers of the firms have strengthened their cooperation in the hope of marketing a new-model car in 2020.

To expedite the development of fuel-cell cars, major Japanese, U.S. and European automakers have formed business alliances. In addition to the Honda-GM tie-up, Toyota Motor Corp. has formed an alliance with BMW AG, and Nissan Motor Co. does business with Daimler AG and Ford Motor Co.

The Honda-GM co-production of main parts is expected to affect the strategies of other automakers, the observers said.

 

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