Honda Will Not Cut Back on FCV Development, Exec Says

Jul 19, 2013
Naoshige Shimizu, Nikkei Automotive Technology
Koichi Fukuo, managing executive officer of Honda Motor
Koichi Fukuo, managing executive officer of Honda Motor
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Koichi Fukuo, managing executive officer of Honda Motor Co Ltd, who leads the development of fuel-cell vehicles (FCVs) in the company, explained the company's partnership with General Motors (GM) Corp, which it announced July 2, 2013, to news media.

Fukuo considers that the goal of spreading the use of FCVs is distant and it takes long to achieve the goal. He said that Honda plans to take time to reach the goal while the two companies evenly split necessary development cost and human resources. In Honda's long-term strategy, the importance of FCVs will not change, and the company will not decrease the number of engineers engaged in the development of FCVs, he said.

Through the partnership, Honda and GM will co-develop a next-generation fuel cell system and a hydrogen storage system and cooperate in building infrastructure for providing hydrogen, developing infrastructure standards, etc in the aim of commercializing FCVs in about 2020.

"We established a system that enables to disclose all the technologies to each other and allows engineers of the two companies to openly discuss with one another," Fukuo said.

As for problems in spreading the use of FCVs, Fukuo said it is necessary not only to lower the costs of FCVs and but to establish infrastructure for providing hydrogen.

"We still have a chicken-or-the-egg problem, wondering whether we should spread FCVs first or establish infrastructure first," he said. "We are still driving in fog."

As one of the things that Honda expects from GM, Fukuo cited its influence in the US because, to establish infrastructure, supports from consumers and governments are necessary.