The Japanese government and a consortium of car manufacturers and hydrogen suppliers have announced plans for a co-ordinated push towards the introduction of fuel cell vehicles.
Last week Honda, Toyota and Nissan and 10 hydrogen suppliers (including Idemitsu and Tokyo Gas) issued a joint statement at the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry promising to introduce ‘mass production’ fuel cell vehicles (FCV) into ‘four major urban areas’, beginning in 2015.
The car makers say they expect these future FCVs to be less expensive, helping drive sales upwards in the second half of the decade. This greater market penetration should underpin the establishment of 100 Hydrogen fuelling stations in Japan by 2015.
The Japanese economic ministry said that ‘the government will support the mass introduction of FCVs in 2015 and more penetration beyond it and will take the necessary actions’.
In September 2009 the German government and a number of private companies announced similar plans for a hydrogen network to be established by 2015. The German transport minister signed a memorandum of understanding with eight industrial partners (including Linde, Daimler, Total and Shell).
The fuel cell vehicle manufacturers have promised to have ‘several hundred thousand’ fuel cell powered-vehicles on the roads of Germany by 2015. A hydrogen fuelling network will start with stations in major urban areas, before extending along the motorway corridors between the major German cities.
Some sources say that the German chemical industry produces enough by-product Hydrogen to fuel 150,000 vehicles per year.