Honda and Isuzu start road-testing Giga Fuel Cell truck

Honda and Isuzu have started on-road testing in Japan of their jointly-developed ‘Giga Fuel Cell’ truck, a 12-meter long, 25-ton truck equipped with four 103 kW fuel cells providing 320 kW (429 hp) of electric power and a range of 800 km with 56 kg hydrogen in its tanks. The potent fuel cell developed by Honda is to be seen in 2024 in a CR-V FCEV, too.

In October 2023, at the Japan Mobility Show, both Japanese companies showcased their jointly developed longe-range hydrogen truck, called ‘Giga Fuel Cell’, for the first time.

The electricity comes from a solid polymer stack of four fuel cells of 103 kW, developed by Honda, feeding a 320 kW AC synchronous electric motor. A nice detail is the truck can serve as a ‘mobile power station’ in times of disaster, delivering an output of up to 530 kWh via its two CHAdeMO connector ports.

Road-testing until September

Honda and Isuzu signed an agreement in January 2020 to conduct joint research on FC-powered heavy-duty trucks. Now, they have started demonstration testing of the prototype model on public roads in the Kanto region, in Honshu, the largest island of Japan, including the greater Tokyo metropolitan area. Tests will continue until September 2024. The commercial launch is envisioned no earlier than 2027.

Like Toyota, Honda is the other Japanese carmaker involved in hydrogen for almost 30 years. It produced the Honda Clarity FCEV in 2018, discontinued in 2021 after only 1 900 cars were produced. That one had a 103 kW fuel cell and two tanks of 5,46 kg hydrogen compressed at 700 bar.

The CR-V FCEV, announced to be unveiled in 2024, is merely meant for the American market and can be seen as a direct competitor for the South Korean Hyundai Nexo SUV. Technical details have not yet been released; it will be produced in the US in Ohio.

Co-developed with General Motors

Honda developed the latest generation of fuel cells with General Motors, another hydrogen veteran. It says this ‘next-generation’ system provides more than double durability compared with its older fuel cell system and brings costs down by two-thirds.

Honda announced a year ago in February that it would start producing it in 2023 and gradually step up sales this decade to expand its hydrogen business, which it expects to gain momentum in 2025-2027.

The Japanese company bets on selling 2 000 systems a year by 2025, increasing to 60 000 by 2030. But that’s not only for cars and trucks, as Honda sees its fuel cells suited also for stationary power stations and heavy construction machinery.

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