$44.5-million start-up will develop, manufacture, market motors for hybrid and plug-in vehicles
- Venture to start this year
- Operations in Japan, U.S., China
The Honda FCX Clarity, a hydrogen-fuel cell-powered electric vehicle, has a 134-HP electric motor.
Honda Motor Co. Ltd. and Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. plan to form venture to develop, manufacture, and market motors for electric vehicles. They have signed a “memorandum of understanding” preliminary to establishing the new company, which is to be capitalized at about $44.5 million (¥5 billion.)
The type or types of electric motors to be produced has not been determined. The full terms of the venture will be determined within a month, and the business will launch in July.
The yet-to-be-named venture will be headquartered in Japan, with subsidiary operations in the U.S. and China.
Hitachi Automotive Systems manufactures automotive and transportation-related components, plus engine management, electric powertrains, drive control, and other systems. Honda Motor designs and manufactures cars, motorcycles, power products, and light aircraft.
Honda launched its first hybrid car, the Insight, in 1999, and it’s currently producing the Honda Clarity in both hybrid and plug-in EV models. The Clarity EV is powered by a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle and has a range of 366 miles.
Honda is already producing electric motors under its own brand, and is focused on expanding its alternative-powered (either hybrid or plug-in): last year it stated a goal of having two-thirds of all its vehicles powered by electricity by 2030.
Last month, Honda agreed with General Motors Corp. to form a hydrogen fuel cell manufacturing center near Detroit. Each OEM will adopt the fuel cells for electric and hybrid vehicles they produce in the future.
Hitachi Automotive Systems has been manufacturing electric vehicle motors since 1999, and continues to develop its technology and production capabilities. It supplies electric motors to GM and Nissan Motor Co. for their electric and hybrid vehicles.