Honda Motor Co. has become the third global automaker seeking to develop fuel cell vehicles equipped with its key technology for China.
The Japanese automaker has started working with local partner Dongfeng Motor Group Co. to test Honda’s fuel cell system in the state-owned automaker’s light commercial vehicles, Honda’s China unit said this week.
The test, to start in central China’s Hubei province this month, is intended to verify the performance of vehicles fitted with fuel cells across several metrics: adaptability to the environment, fuel economy and durability under various driving conditions, Honda China added.
Dongfeng, a major truck maker in China, operates a joint venture with Honda in Hubei which produces passenger vehicles for Honda brand.
Prior to Honda, two other global automakers had made substantial progress in pushing to the Chinese fuel cell vehicle market with their fuel cell systems.
In 2020, Toyota Motor Corp. formed an R&D partnership on fuel cell system development with Beijing-based fuel cell system developer SinoHytec Co., Dongfeng and three other state-owned Chinese automakers -- China FAW Group, GAC Motor Group and BAIC Group.
In 2021, Toyota also set up an 8 billion Japanese yen ($624 million) joint venture with SinoHytec to produce and market fuel cell systems for commercial vehicles. The joint venture began constructing a plant in Beijing in October 2022.
In 2021, Hyundai Motor Co. started building a plant in in the south China city of Guangzhou which can initially build 6,500 fuel cell systems a year.
In October 2022, Hyundai signed a deal to create a joint venture with Guangzhou-based companies – energy supplier Guangzhou Hengyun Enterprises Group Co. and public transport operator Guangzhou Development District Transport Investment Group Co.
The partnership will carry out sales and provide after-sale services for commercial vehicles installed with Hyundai’s fuel cell system.