TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Honda Motor Co said it will start producing a new hydrogen fuel cell system jointly developed with General Motors Co this year and gradually step up sales this decade, in a bid to expand its hydrogen business.
Honda will target annual sales of around 2,000 units of the new system in the middle of this decade, the company said on Thursday, aiming to boost that to 60,000 units per year in 2030.
The Japanese carmaker is seeking to expand the use of its new system not only for its own fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs), but also commercial vehicles such as heavy trucks, as stationary power stations and in construction machinery.
Honda will start production of the hydrogen fuel cell system through its joint venture with GM this year, Honda senior managing executive director Shinji Aoyama told reporters during a company event in Tokyo.
With the "next-generation" system, the company aims to more than double durability compared with its older fuel cell system and to bring costs down by two-thirds.
"While commercial vehicles are in use all over the world, they'll likely see electrification just as with passenger cars," said Tetsuya Hasebe, general manager of Honda's hydrogen business development division.
That would likely lead to a divergence in trucks using batteries and those running on fuel cells, he added.
(Reporting by Daniel Leussink; Editing by Chang-Ran Kim and Jamie Freed)