Honda Motor Co. said Thursday it will start selling its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell systems for cars and other products in the mid-2020s, initially targeting 2,000 units per year and ramping up to 60,000 in 2030, to meet its goal of reducing carbon emissions.

The Japanese manufacturer, seeking to expand the take-up of zero-emission hydrogen, said it hopes to sell "a few hundred thousand" units of the system, jointly developed with General Motors Co., annually by the second half of the 2030s.

Hydrogen fuel cells, which produce electricity through a chemical reaction between oxygen and hydrogen without any carbon dioxide emissions, are touted as a solution to tackle global warming, although the requirement to build hydrogen refueling infrastructure remains a challenge.

Honda Motor Co. unveils its next-generation hydrogen fuel cell systems in Tokyo on Feb. 2, 2023. (Kyodo)

Honda said fuel cell systems can be used not only to power passenger vehicles but are also viable for commercial trucks, stationary power stations and construction machinery.

Arata Ichinose, Honda's operating executive and head of the business development supervisory unit, told a press briefing that by achieving sales of 60,000 units in 2030, the company hopes to secure a double-digit percentage market share of new hydrogen-powered medium and large commercial trucks sold globally.

He said it is estimated that among 3 million units of medium to large trucks currently produced annually, some 20 to 30 percent will be electrified, such as through battery or fuel cell technology, by around 2030.

In 2024, Honda will also start selling a new fuel cell vehicle model in North America and Japan, equipped with the next-generation system. It said the new system will reduce production costs by one-third as compared to the previous fuel cell-powered Clarity passenger vehicle.

Honda said in April 2021 it will stop selling new gasoline-powered vehicles, including hybrids, globally by 2040, becoming the first Japanese automaker to commit to such a goal in response to the global decarbonization push.

In September 2022, it extended the decarbonization plan to its range of motorcycles, aiming to achieve it in the 2040s.

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