Photo of GM's Brownstown plant that will house the fuel cell partnership's operations courtesy of GM.

Photo of GM's Brownstown plant that will house the fuel cell partnership's operations courtesy of GM.

General Motors and Honda will develop a hydrogen fuel cell system under a $170-million manufacturing partnership that's expected to begin producing the systems for future vehicles by 2020, the companies announced.

Each company is investing $85 million in the joint venture.

Fuel Cell Manufacturing LLC will operate within GM's existing battery pack manufacturing plant in Brownstown, Mich., that's located south of Detroit. The plant supplies the battery pack for the Chevrolet Volt. The operation is expected to create 100 jobs.

GM and Honda have been working together through a master collaboration agreement announced in July of 2013. The 2013 agreement set laid the groundwork for the development of a next-generation fuel cell system and hydrogen storage technologies. The companies have integrated their development teams and shared hydrogen fuel cell intellectual property to create a more affordable commercial solution for fuel cell and hydrogen storage systems, according to the companies.

"Over the past three years, engineers from Honda and GM have been providing know-how from its unique expertise to create a compact and low-cost next-gen fuel cell system," said Toshiaki Mikoshiba, Honda North America's chief operating officer. "This foundation of outstanding teamwork will now take us to the stage of joint mass production of a fuel cell system that will help each company create new value for our customers in fuel cell vehicles of the future."

The Fuel Cell System Manufacturing (FCSM) joint venture will be operated by a board of directors consisting of three executives from each company and will include a rotating chairperson. In addition, a president will be appointed to rotate between each company.

GM and Honda hold more than 2,220 patents between them, according to the Clean Energy Patent Growth Index. GM and Honda rank No. 1 and No. 3 in fuel cell patents filed from 2002 through 2015.

Honda began deliveries of its Clarity Fuel Cell sedan to U.S. customers in December, following its spring launch in Japan. GM has been partnering with the U.S. Army to develop a fuel-cell Chevrolet Colorado mid-size pickup.