Hot on the heels of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe subsidy announcements, Toyota’s Aichi prefecture also came with additional backing for the new energy technology.
At least in the Asian country, the world’s third largest economy, the prospects for the largely commercially unproven technology are looking up. Last week, Abe, the country’s prime minister, officially said the government would subsidize fuel cell car purchases with at least 2 million yen. That would roughly translate to around $20,000 – effectively lowering the price of Toyota’s new FCV model to about $50,000, or as much as a medium-sized premium car.
“Fuel cells are one of the few frontiers where Japan can lead the market,” said Thanh Ha Pham, a Tokyo-based analyst with Jefferies Group LLC. “For any new technology you need government support for popularizing.”
Now, Takashi Horibe, the auto and environmental conservation specialist of the Aichi prefecture (where Toyota has its operational base), added that the local government intends to further support local purchases with another 1 million yen, which means any buyer of a fuel cell car could be granted rebates worth as much as 3 million yen ($29,500). Toyota is ready to start sales of its new fuel cell car – dubbed simply FCV, while its main rival Honda is also preparing a competitor – a second generation of the FCX Clarity model.