Following news Honda would bring $2.75 billion to the table and invest in General Motors’ Cruise Automation subsidiary, we decided to take a look back on where the Japanese and U.S. automakers have decided to cozy up.
The timeline for true major partnerships began in 2013. Honda and GM both agreed to collaborate on next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies. Five years ago, the goal was to bring a commercially-feasible solution to market by the 2020 timeframe.
Both automakers have been leaders in the hydrogen fuel cell segment. GM began its “Project Driveway” in 2007 with a fleet of 119 hydrogen-powered first-generation Chevrolet Equinox crossovers. Honda began leasing the FCX hydrogen car in 2002, deploying 85 units to customers in the U.S. and Japan.
Two years later, Honda signaled it wanted to increase its collaboration with GM. At the time, Honda said the fuel-cell partnership was going very well and both automakers were looking into expanding their work across various technologies. Self-driving cars, IT, and electrification technologies were all on the table. At the time, Honda did not have any concrete plans for self-driving technology, while GM was busy developing Cadillac’s Super Cruise semi self-driving system.
Two years later, Honda and GM announced a major partnership. The two automakers planned to establish a joint-venture for fuel cell manufacturing. The new venture made for an $85 million investment in the Brownstown, Michigan, battery pack manufacturing facility. The joint-venture, called Fuel Cell System Manufacturing, LLC, will eventually churn out fuel cells for commercial vehicles. Both GM and Honda continued to share learnings through their fuel cell programs and filed for 2,200 patents combined.
This year brought two major milestones for the GM-Honda relationship. This past June, both automakers inked a deal to partner on future electric-car batteries. Both automakers will develop a next-generation battery for electric cars, and Honda agreed to source the units from GM directly. The new batteries will specifically address the needs of North American drivers, i.e., higher energy density, smaller packaging and faster-charging capabilities for both companies’ future products.
On October 3, Honda announced it would invest a total of $2.75 billion int GM Cruise over the next 12 years. The Japanese automaker will also join GM and develop a future self-driving car tailor-made for autonomous technology. Honda’s influence won’t be immediate; current GM Cruise prototypes are all based on the Chevrolet Bolt EV. Neither automaker is sure what kind of car will come from the latest partnership.