GM, Honda to make hydrogen bet

Hydrogen refueling station
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Gas may be cheap and interest in hydrogen-powered autos may be low, but General Motors and Honda expect car buyers are ready to embrace vehicles running on the clean-burning fuel.

The automakers have formed a joint venture to develop an advanced hydrogen fuel cell system that will be featured in GM and Honda vehicles starting in 2020.

The system will be developed and built at GM's battery pack manufacturing facility in Brownstown, Michigan, just outside Detroit.

Each company is investing $85 million into the joint venture that will create about 100 jobs in the Detroit area.

Honda, and other automakers, have been working on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles for several years. Despite the promise of the technology and the fact that the vehicles only emit water vapor, hydrogen-powered vehicles have been very slow to gain traction.

The issue: a lack of infrastructure for refueling the vehicles. California has perhaps the most extensive network of hydrogen refueling stations in the country, but even in the Golden State there are not many gas stations that have been equipped to refuel hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.