Japan car giants team up to build hydrogen stations

March 5, 2018
Toyota produced the world's first fuel-cell car

Top Japanese carmakers said on Monday they were teaming up to nearly double the amount of hydrogen stations in Japan, as the car-mad country seeks to head off competition from China and Germany.

Toyota, Nissan and Honda formed a joint venture with major gas and energy companies, including French industrial gases company Air Liquide, to build 80 new stations in the next four years, to add to the 101 stations currently in Japan.

"At this stage, we believe there is significant space for cooperation, rather than searching for areas of competition," Shigeki Terashi, Toyota executive vice president told reporters.

The new venture—"Japan H2 Mobility" or "JHyM"—comes as the world's top economies rush to issue tougher environmental regulations that are spurring development of new clean cars and trucks.

Japan has focused on promoting fuel-cells, which combine hydrogen and oxygen in an electrochemical reaction, producing clean electricity to power vehicles or home generators.

But cannot get off the ground without a network of hydrogen stations, and vice versa, and the chicken-and-egg dilemma has stalled the roll-out of the technology, say industry professionals.

Hydrogen stations and fuel cell vehicles must be promoted in tandem in order to lower their cost, executives said.

"Unless infrastructure makers team up, new hydrogen stations tend to be concentrated in urban areas," said Hideki Sugawara, president of the new firm.

"In order to maximise the demand for FCVs (fuel cell vehicles), we have to expand geographically," he said.

The 101 hydrogen stations serve around 2,400 fuel-cell cars in Japan, according to official data, but a lack of viable stations has been a major hurdle for carmakers as they seek to boost production.

The Japanese government and the auto industry aim to introduce 160 stations and 40,000 fuel-cell vehicles by March 2020.

The government is also pushing to deregulate the sector to lower costs.

Toyota launched the Mirai, the world's first mass-market hydrogen fuel-cell , in late 2014 as it looked to push further into the fast-growing market for environmentally friendly cars.

Nissan and Honda also have their version of fuel-cell projects.

Explore further: Toyota, Nissan, others get behind fuel cell push in Japan

Related Stories

Toyota recalls all fuel-cell Mirai vehicles

February 15, 2017

Toyota said Wednesday it is recalling all the Mirai fuel-cell vehicles it has sold globally due to a software glitch that can shut off its hydrogen-powered system.

Recommended for you

Woman struck and killed by self-driving Uber vehicle

March 19, 2018

A self-driving Uber vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian in a Phoenix suburb in the first fatality involving a fully autonomous test vehicle, prompting the ride-hailing company Monday to suspend all road-testing of such ...

World's biggest battery in Australia to trump Musk's

March 16, 2018

British billionaire businessman Sanjeev Gupta will built the world's biggest battery in South Australia, officials said Friday, overtaking US star entrepreneur Elon Musk's project in the same state last year.

1 in 3 Michigan workers tested opened fake 'phishing' email

March 16, 2018

Michigan auditors who conducted a fake "phishing" attack on 5,000 randomly selected state employees said Friday that nearly one-third opened the email, a quarter clicked on the link and almost one-fifth entered their user ...

Origami-inspired self-locking foldable robotic arm

March 15, 2018

A research team of Seoul National University led by Professor Kyu-Jin Cho has developed an origami-inspired robotic arm that is foldable, self-assembling and also highly-rigid. (The researchers include Suk-Jun Kim, Dae-Young ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.