Toyota Motor Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd., and Honda Motor Co., Ltd. have agreed on key details of their joint support project for the development of hydrogen station infrastructure in Japan. (Earlier post.) The joint project (conducted alongside the Japanese government’s support for hydrogen stations) will cover one-third of the hydrogen station operating expenses incurred by infrastructure companies, and was first announced on 12 February.
Annual financial support per station is limited to ¥11 million (US$89,000). (The annual limit is ¥13 million (US$106,000) where two or more mobile stations are operated.) The partners envision funding support until around 2020. 100 hydrogen stations will be constructed initially, with a gradual increase expected thereafter. The total value of the support is estimated at around ¥5-6 billion (US$41-$49 million).
Hydrogen stations will be selected through the Next Generation Vehicle Promotion Center’s (NeV) new project to support activities aiming to stimulate demand for FCVs.
In addition to partially covering the operating costs of hydrogen stations, the three automakers have also agreed to help infrastructure companies deliver the best possible customer service and create a convenient, hassle-free refueling network for owners of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs).
The project partners will jointly raise awareness regarding these support measures to encourage new companies to enter the hydrogen supply business. Financial assistance will be provided through the Research Association of Hydrogen Supply/Utilization Technology (HySUT), which is setting up a project to stimulate demand for FCVs.
To help popularize FCVs by creating a reliable hydrogen fueling environment and ensuring peace of mind for FCV owners, the three automakers will work with infrastructure companies to take the following steps:
Using information such as customer needs and hydrogen station operating rates to improve customer service levels.
Improving the convenience of hydrogen stations by increasing the number of days they are open, extending their business hours, enhancing and providing operational information, and developing hydrogen station infrastructure that is easy to access.
Raising public awareness about FCVs and hydrogen.
Background. In June 2014, the Japanese government unveiled its Strategic Road Map for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells, which involves subsidizing the construction of hydrogen stations and reviewing regulations. Furthermore, in February, the Japanese government decided to partially subsidize hydrogen station operational expenses in order to help stimulate new demand for FCVs.
Toyota launched the Mirai FCV in late 2014, while Honda has announced its plan to bring an FCV to market before April 2016 and Nissan is also planning to market an FCV as early as 2017.
Through this project, the three automakers plan to support hydrogen station infrastructure steadily from a medium-term perspective, until FCVs become well established in the market and the development of hydrogen station infrastructure is well underway (potentially around 2020).
HySUT was established in July 2009 based on the Act on Research and Development Partnership concerning Mining and Manufacturing Technology, with the goal of building hydrogen supply infrastructure and developing a business environment conducive to widespread use of FCVs by 2015. There are currently 19 member companies/organizations, including energy infrastructure companies as well as automakers.