Isuzu and Honda have announced a joint research agreement to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology for commercial trucks.  - Photo: Isuzu Commercial Truck America

Isuzu and Honda have announced a joint research agreement to develop hydrogen fuel cell technology for commercial trucks. 

Photo: Isuzu Commercial Truck America

Research and development costs for new powertrain and automotive technology routinely run into billions of dollars before products are ready to go to market. That said, it only makes sense for OEMs to partner on various projects to reduce those costs and share engineering expertise.

That’s what Isuzu is doing in its bid to develop viable hydrogen fuel-cell technology for medium-duty trucks.

In Tokyo on January 15, Japan-based Isuzu Motors Limited and Honda R&D, a research and development subsidiary of Honda, signed an agreement to undertake joint research on heavy-duty trucks, utsing uel cells as the advanced powertrain technology.

In a press statement, Isuzu noted that it has been striving to promote the use of low-carbon and sustainable energy.  To that end, the company has been researching and developing various powertrains, including clean diesel engines, engines for natural gas vehicles. and electric vehicle powertrains, which accommodate a broad range of customer needs and how vehicles are used.

Honda stated that it has been working researching and developing fuel cell vehicles for more than 30 years. In a press statement, Honda called fuel cell vehicles “the ultimate environmental technology” for motorized vehicles.

According to both companies, there are still some issues that need to be addressed to popularize the use of fuel cells and hydrogen energy, including those related to cost and infrastructure. The companies said these issues need to be tackled not only by individual companies. but more expansively through industry-wide initiatives.

Against this backdrop, Isuzu said it is striving to expand its lineup of next-generation powertrains for heavy-duty trucks. While Honda is seeking to expand application of its fuel cell technologies beyond passenger vehicles., .

These joint technological research goals led the two companies to reach the January 15th agreement to conduct joint research on heavy-duty fuel cell trucks.

Both companies bring respective strengths to the table that they have amassed over a long period of time, a Honda press statement noted.

Taken together, the two companies said they will strive to establish the foundation for fuel cell powertrain and vehicle control technologies. Moreover, through this joint research, Isuzu and Honda said they will not only realize clean, low-noise, low-vibration heavy-duty trucks,  but also promote expansive discussions by the industry on deploying fuel cells and hydrogen energy to reduce pollution and save fuel.

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