Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

Toyota Fuel Cell Sedan

It seems that Japan would like to be on forefront of alternative fuel vehicles and after high investments in CHAdeMO quick chargers, now a network of hydrogen filling stations for fuel cell vehicles is planned.

JX Nippon Oil & Energy will form a dedicated subsidiary to build and operate 100 stations by fiscal 2018.

As of today, JX Nippon Oil & Energy have just 5 such stations and planned to add 10 more this year, but now it raised the bar to total of 19 in fiscal 2014, 40 by fiscal 2015 and 100 in next 2-3 years.

Hydrogen dispensers will be installed at both existing gasoline stations and dedicated facilities.

According to Japanese media, the average cost of such station about is 460 million yen ($4.48 million), but should be lowered by a third. On the other side, government will provide subsidies of $280 million so we are guessing that all those installations could be done on only taxpayer money (at least most of those 100).

"The government has positioned the zero-emissions vehicle -- powered by a chemical reaction between oxygen in the air and hydrogen to produce water -- as a key automotive technology for the future. It wants a total of 100 hydrogen stations set up by fiscal 2015. But so far, definitive plans are in place for only 41 locations. JX Nippon Oil's latest move will thus make a significant contribution to the effort.

To lower the financial burden of building hydrogen stations, which averages about 460 million yen ($4.48 million), the government provides up to 280 million yen in subsidies. It is loosening regulations to allow the use of cheaper steel materials in hydrogen tanks, just as Europe and the U.S. do. Requirements for building facilities in urban areas will be eased as well. The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry sees room to cut costs by 150 million yen."

Honda FCEV Fuel Cell LA Auto Show 2013

Honda FCEV Fuel Cell LA Auto Show 2013

There are other companies willing to build hydrogen stations too:

"Iwatani, a trading company specializing in industrial and household gases, is planning hydrogen stations, as are Tokyo Gas and Toyota Tsusho."

The first cars that use hydrogen announced by Toyota will cost about 7 million yen ($69,000) before taxes, and again government is expected to cover of up to 2 million yen in subsidies per vehicle. Toyota will begin sales in areas with hydrogen stations (that's smart).

Honda should a release its second fuel cell vehicle by the end of 2015 with an estimated price below 10 million yen ($98,000).

Source: Nikkei