Toyota, Nissan and Honda pledge support to Japanese dream of becoming “a hydrogen society” by co-developing hydrogen fuel infrastructure in the country for fuel cell vehicles (FCV).
The three automakers will cover operational expenses of a station costing up to 11 million yen ($90,000), according to a joint statement by officials on Wednesday. The total amount of support to be given is estimated to be about 5 billion yen ($40 million).
FCV’s are pollution free since they run on the energy generated by combining hydrogen in fuel tanks with oxygen in the air. Water is the only byproduct of the process.
The proliferation of this technology, however, depends on the number of hydrogen fuel stations available. Currently there are 23 stations in Japan, and hundreds are planned to open in the country.
The Japanese government subsidises these stations as part of a strategy aimed at making Japan the first hydrogen society, putting it at an advantage to the rest of the world. The 2020 Tokyo Olympics is expected to be a showcase for fuel cells.
Toyota launched its first hydrogen car, the Mirai FCV, in late 2014. Although Honda released the FCX Clarity in 2007, the automaker has announced plans to bring a new FCV in the spring of 2016. Nissan is planning to market an FCV in two years.