The Japanese government aims to reduce tailpipe emissions by supporting the fuel-cell cars trend and by building more hydrogen stations.
Hydrogen-powered cars are far from being accessible to customers because of the great costs involved around this technology and it is still debatable whether the fuel-cell path is more environmentally friendly than electric batteries. Japan is a strong believer in the hydrogen trend and is aiming to further support the expansion of such green vehicles as a way to diversify energy sources and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. There are around 400 fuel-cell vehicles and about 80 hydrogen stations either operating or soon to operate in the country, according to a report released this week by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The government’s mid-term strategy is to have 40,000 hydrogen-powered cars on its roads by the end of the decade, while the long-term view in this direction targets 800,000 by 2030. To back up such an expansion, Japan also intends to increase the number of hydrogen stations to 160 by the time the fiscal year ends in March 2021 and to double them again in the following five years.
Among the automakers which are trying to bring this technology closer to customers, Honda, Toyota and Hyundai are leading the fuel-cell movement. Honda announced last week the start of sales in Japan for its new 750 km range Clarity Fuel Cell which has an entry price tag of 7,660,000 yen (67,445 dollars). The company said it aimed to sell around 200 units this year, primarily going towards leases from businesses and local governments. Honda is also in talks with General Motors over how to manufacture and procure parts for hydrogen fuel cell stacks as part of their technology development partnership.