The Nikkei reports that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe revealed plans to provide at least ¥2 million (US$19,722) in subsidies for every purchase of a fuel cell vehicle.
In a 2013 speech at Japan Akademeia on his “Abenomics”, shortly after his inauguration, the Prime Minster had emphasized the importance of regulatory and institutional reform to lead to commercial viability of new technologies, and specifically referenced hydrogen fuel cell vehicles.
There is no alternative but to continue time and time again to put forth innovations that are a step ahead of your competitors. I will support companies that resolutely take on the challenge of innovating new ideas. What will open the door to this is regulatory reform.
For example, fuel cell-powered vehicles are revolutionary vehicles that are environmentally friendly, emitting no carbon dioxide. However, their hydrogen tanks are subject to both METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) and MLIT (Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism) regulations. The hydrogen filling stations used for refueling are bound up in a mountain of regulations, being subject to not only METI regulations but also Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications regulations governing firefighting and MLIT regulations dealing with town planning.
Even if you tackle each of these in turn as they appear one after the other, commercial viability always stays out of reach. We will soon conduct a review to tackle this situation all at once.—Prime Minister Abe
Toyota will launch its production fuel cell vehicle in Japan before April 2015, and in the US and European markets in the summer of 2015. In Japan, the fuel cell sedan will go on sale at Toyota and Toyopet dealerships, priced at approximately ¥7 million (US$69,000) MSRP, excluding consumption tax. (Earlier post.)
The Prime Minster also plans to set up more than 100 hydrogen stations in the country, so that owners can refuel the cars easily.