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Toyota, Honda and Nissan have agreed on key details of a new joint support project for the development of hydrogen station infrastructure in Japan. In addition to partially covering the operating costs of hydrogen stations, Japan’s big three have also agreed to help infrastructure companies deliver the best possible customer service and create a convenient refueling network for owners of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs).

The joint project, with the Japanese government’s support, was first announced in February. Project partners will together raise awareness on the support measures to encourage new companies to enter the hydrogen supply business. Financial assistance will be provided through the Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilisation Technology (HySUT), which is setting up a project to stimulate demand for FCVs.

Honda-Toyota-Nissan-Hydrogen

In addition, the trio will work with infrastructure companies to use info such as customer needs and hydrogen station operating rates to improve customer service levels, increase the number of days the stations are open, extend their business hours and develop station infrastructure that is easy to access. The car companies will also raise public awareness about FCVs and hydrogen.

Of course, these measures will ultimately benefit the carmakers. For zero emissions FCVs to gain popularity, creating attractive products is only half of the equation, as hydrogen station infrastructure must exist to support customers. Infrastructure companies face difficulties constructing and operating stations, and revenues are expected to remain low, which is why support is much needed.

Honda FCV Concept

The Japanese government is playing its part, too. In June 2014, it unveiled the Strategic Road Map for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, which involves subsidising the construction of hydrogen stations and reviewing regulations. In February, Japan decided to partially subsidise hydrogen station operational expenses.

Toyota revealed the production Mirai FCV late last year. Honda, which came up with the ahead of its time FCX Clarity in 2007, has announced plans to bring a new FCV to market before April 2016, while Nissan is planning to get an FCV out as early as 2017.

The carmakers say that this joint support project will continue until FCVs become established in the market and the development of hydrogen station infrastructure is well underway, potentially around year 2020.

Toyota Mirai


Honda FCV Concept