During the last 10 years, we've heard a lot about fuel-cell-powered vehicles, but few have hit the streets. Today, General Motors and Honda are renewing their pledge to develop the alternative-fuel technology with a new collaboration.
The automakers announced an agreement to co-develop a fuel-cell system and hydrogen storage technologies by 2020. Both companies are also committed to furthering the hydrogen refueling infrastructure — a big hurdle to widespread adoption of the technology.
Fuel-cell partnerships are nothing new. Nissan, Daimler and Ford have committed to the development of a fuel-cell-powered vehicle by 2017, and BMW and Toyota by 2020. But alas, the years keep adding up. Last year, for example, Toyota announced plans to have a practical, production-ready hydrogen vehicle for sale by 2015.
GM and Honda already have fuel-cell development programs, but both have limited public exposure. GM launched a fleet of hydrogen-powered Chevrolet Equinoxes in 2007. Although the automaker claims the vehicles have accumulated nearly 3 million miles of driving, only 119 of them existed. Click here for our drive of the Equinox fuel cell.
Honda started leasing a test fleet of its FCX fuel-cell car in 2002, but only 85 hit the streets; the FCX Clarity followed and Honda says its successor will be launched in the U.S. and Japan in 2015. There's no word, however, about public availability. "GM will announce its fuel-cell production plans at a later date," the automaker said in a statement.