General Motors and Honda Motor Company have joined together to invest in a plan for next-generation green vehicles. The $85 million investment will be used to build hydrogen fuel cell stacks for the next-generation green vehicles, at a factory in Michigan.
The manufacturing is set to begin around 2020. The joint plan, the Fuel Cell System Manufacturing will begin producing cells at GM’s Brownstown Township, Mich., plant south of Detroit. This plant already makes the battery packs for hybrid and electric vehicles. The project is expected to create 100 more jobs, the automakers jointly said on Monday.
This announcement comes as many automakers are trying to highlight their commitment to U.S. manufacturing and creating jobs in the U.S., amid President Trump’s call to make more vehicles in America. Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. are also among the companies who have recently announced plans to expand their U.S. manufacturing facilities and add production.
However, GM and Honda have downplayed the situation as not being brought on by the recent actions of Trump, saying that it is part of their planned investments. The companies have jointly said that the investment is part of a joint plan to roll out next-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles. The companies said the development of the next-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles will slash costs and boost efficiency.
The goal is to produce smaller, lighter and more powerful vehicles that use hydrogen as fuel to produce electricity to power cars. The joint system will be deployed in different select vehicles from each of the two companies.
The Brownstown plant will ship the vehicles with plug-and-play fuel cell systems ready for installation. The system will include the stack and all the related cooling, fluid, gas and electrical components, assembled into a module.
“They’re not a science project anymore,” GM Executive Vice President Mark Reuss said of hydrogen fuel cells in prepared remarks. “Experts at both companies worked together as one team in different time zones and locations to get us to where we are.”
GM and Honda decided to build the next-generation hydrogen fuel cell vehicles in the U.S. because that is expected to be the biggest market.
“We also wanted this new fuel cell system to be built in the United States,” Toshiaki Mikoshiba, president of Honda North America Inc., said separately. “At this stage in the advancement of the technology, it is more efficient to have one operation building the fuel cell system for unique vehicles to be offered by each company.”