Toyota-led group to double Japan’s hydrogen fuel stations.
A consortium of 11 Japanese companies led by Toyota Motor and JXTG Holdings is constructing about 80 hydrogen fueling stations across Japan to be completed by March 2022.
The joint venture will reduce construction costs through concentrated investment, the Nikkei Asian Review reported. In addition to Toyota and JTXG, Nissan Motor, Honda Motor, Tokyo Gas, oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan, industrial gas maker Iwatani, trading house Toyota Tsusho, the Development Bank of Japan and others will invest in a joint company to be established in the spring. The consortium expects the venture to last 10 years.
The companies will draft a construction plan in 2018 to nearly double Japan’s hydrogen stations in four years from the current 90, focusing on locations in major cities. Hydrogen stations involve high construction costs at around 400 million yen to 500 million yen ($3.5 million to $4.4 million) each, Nikkei said. The costs can be reduced by having the joint venture to place orders for the necessary equipment. The enterprise will also combine the participants’ lobbying power to push for favourable government regulations. JXTG and Iwatani, which both already run hydrogen power operations, will manage the new stations.
Toyota launched the Mirai, the first mass-market hydrogen fuel cell vehicle, in 2014. Fuel cell vehicles have a greater range than electric vehicles powered by lithium batteries and can refuel in about three minutes. But there are only about 1,700 fuel cell vehicles on Japan’s roads due to a lack of fueling stations. Toyota, Honda and General Motors are among the few automakers trying to develop the technology. Japan wants to have the fuel cell and electric vehicles account for 50-70% of new car sales by 2030.