Japan auto-makers commit $50m to hydrogen stations

Toyota, Nissan and Honda link arms to deliver vital funding to Japan’s dream for a hydrogen society

Toyota’s Mirai is the only fuel-cell vehicle currently in production.
Toyota’s Mirai is the only fuel-cell vehicle currently in production.

Japan’s top three automakers have committed to spend $48.92m to subsidise the cost of operating hydrogen fuelling stations in their home nation to boost the development of cars that use the fuel.

Japan is set to miss the ambitious target of having 100 fuelling stations in place by March 2016 to help foster a hydrogen society, and only 74 stations are currently planned due to funding difficulties.

However, in a supportive move for the plan, Toyota, Nissan and Honda agreed to shoulder one-third of the cost of operating the stations, up to a limit of $89,700 per facility.

According to Kiyotaka Ise, senior managing officer for Toyota, the automakers will then split the cost roughly based on the number of fuel-cell vehicles each company sells.

Toyota’s Mirai, launched in December 2014, is the only fuel-cell vehicle (FCV) on sale now and production is set to be limited to 700 in the first year. However, Honda has said it will roll out an FCV by next March, while Nissan’s is due by 2017.

Each hydrogen stations cost about $5m to build and the government’s subsidy for one location is capped at around half that. Even with generous handouts, the stations are expected to be loss-making for at least the first decade, industry officials told Reuters.

The subsidies from the automakers are expected to last until 2020.

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