In an attempt to commercialise greener hydrogen fuel-cell cars and to build a network of fuelling stations, Japan’s top three automakers – Honda, Nissan and Toyota have joined up with Japanese energy firms.
The companies are aiming to build in Tokyo, Nagoya, Osaka and Fukuoka, with 10 Japanese energy groups including natural-gas refiners and distributors, 100 filling stations by 2015.
Fuel-cell vehicles (FCV’s), which convert hydrogen into electricity and emit nothing more harmful than water vapour, are once again pushed by the automakers.
In order to make them more viable commercially, manufacturers are working to reduce the production cost of hydrogen-powered vehicles by creating a crucial hydrogen supply infrastructure network.
In 2015 the goal is to launch, in the country’s four major metropolitan areas, FCV’s while continuing to reduce the cost of manufacturing. Automakers and hydrogen fuel suppliers, with an aim to significantly reduce CO2 emitted by the transportation sector, together will expand the introduction of FCV’s and throughout Japan will develop the hydrogen supply network.
Fuel cells are seen as a more powerful alternative to the battery cars of Nissan and Toyota. The two prohibitives have been expensive production and a lack of a comprehensive fuelling infrastructure.
By 2015 Toyota, pioneer of the hybrid petro engine with an electric motor, plans to launch a fuel-cell. Their hybrid technology is being applied using the fuel-cell to replace the petrol engine.
Honda has delivered some 200 FCV Clarity hydrogen-powered cars on lease, since 2008, in the United States, Japan and Europe.