The future of vehicles seems to be underpinned by hydrogen fuel cells, as an increasing number of automakers are foreseeing hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles in their fleet.
After BMW AG sported a tweaked Gran Turismo that is powered by this technology and officials stated that they are looking forward to a clean fuel future of the car-making industry, another three Japanese automakers struck a deal for hydrogen fuel cell infrastructure development across Japan.
The three giants are Nissan Motor, Toyota Motor Co., and Honda Motor Co. The terms of the deal overseen by the Japanese government have been published recently.
The joint effort will look at supporting the development of hydrogen fuel stations across Japan. Refueling networks are a must for hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles to become a more common occurrence on public roads. Hopefully, the effort of the three Japanese automakers will spark similar efforts across the world.
It is a must that hydrogen fuel stations are widespread if hydrogen fuel cell vehicle numbers are to increase. Public facilities that provide fuel for hydrogen fuel cell vehicles have so far been hampered by the high costs of the technology. Comparatively, electric vehicles are much cheaper looking at the charging infrastructure.
In Japan, the efforts to create a sustainable network for hydrogen fueling have long been supported by the government under the “hydrogen economy” vision. Toyota, Honda and Nissan first announced their joint project in February. Now, the final details have been set in place.
A major task in the joint Honda-Nissan-Toyota project is the underwriting of operational costs related to the building of hydrogen fuel stations. As such, the three Japanese automakers are bound to cover one third of these costs. There is a cap per fueling station set at 90,000 dollars or 11 million yen.
Hydrogen fuel station operators must reapply yearly for funding. Whether there is also a cap as to how many stations will be funded or not, remains to be discussed. According to the joint statement of Honda, Toyota and Nissan, the ambitious project is bound to run until:
“FCVs become well established in the market and the development of hydrogen station infrastructure is well underway”.
Toyota is already boasting the hydrogen fuel cell 2016 Mirai which already hit the market in Japan. For the U.S., this hydrogen fuel cell vehicle will come to California in autumn.
Honda is well underway to launch its own hydrogen fuel cell vehicle next year, while Nissan is keeping the company’s focus on electric cars so far.
Clean fuel is mandatory for automakers to create a sustainable future. Whether we talk about hydrogen fuel cell vehicles or electric vehicles, technological and infrastructure development are an absolute requirement.
From this perspective, the joint project of Honda, Toyota and Nissan is a commendable effort.
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