Japan’s Honda and Isuzu Motors said they would jointly research the use of hydrogen fuel cells to power heavy-duty trucks, looking to expand fuel cell use by applying the zero-emission technology to larger vehicles.
As part of a two-year deal, Isuzu will test Honda’s fuel cell power train, which was designed for passenger cars, in Isuzu’s commercial trucks, said the companies, which could pave the way for using the technology in a wider range of vehicles.
Automakers are looking to develop more electric vehicles to comply with tightening global emissions regulations.
Many see battery-powered vehicles as a solution for passenger cars in cities, but a growing number see hydrogen fuel cells as an effective way to power trucks, buses, and other big vehicles.
“Although we have done extensive R&D into passenger FCVs (fuel cell vehicles), we have not been able to study how best to apply the technology to commercial vehicles,” a Honda spokesman told reporters at a briefing. “This partnership will allow us to do that.”
Fuel cell vehicles generate their own electricity using hydrogen stored in onboard tanks.
This enables them to travel longer distances and refuel more quickly than other electric vehicles, while using less costly energy storage systems.
“We think that FCV technology is well suited for heavier trucks which travel longer distances, and this partnership will enable us to examine this further,” said an Isuzu spokeswoman, adding that the truck maker is also developing various lower-carbon power trains including battery-electric technology for shorter-distance vehicles.
With its Clarity Fuel Cell car, Honda is one of a handful of automakers that have developed and marketed fuel cell-powered passenger cars.