The Japanese government has revealed new plans which they hope will drive hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle growth and refilling station deployment across the country. With Prime Minister Shinzo Abe continuing to push hydrogen as the fuel of the future, they say the number of fuel-cell equipped vehicles on its roads will multiply by a factor or 100 within the next 4 years.
Japan currently has around 400 fuel-cell vehicles on the road today, but are aiming to increase this number to 40,000 by 2020, and up to a massive 800,000 by 2030. The most important aspect for achieving this growth is undoubtedly having an adequate network of hydrogen filling stations, and there are currently 80 of these either in operation or slated to deploy soon – and there’s hopes to double that number by 2020. In comparison, the USA currently has 24 publicly accessible hydrogen filling stations across the country.
Honda and Toyota appear to be on-board with the plan, with Honda starting to lease its Clarity fuel-cell vehicle in Japan. The Clarity is said to be able to travel about 750km (466mi) on a full tank of hydrogen, and will begin production at a rate of 200 vehicles a year. Honda indicated late last year that it was frustrated with what it said was the slow pace of fuel-cell station deployment in Japan, and has now collaborated with hydrogen supply company Iwatani Corp. on what they called a “Smart Hydrogen Station,” though that concept was in its testing phase as of last December.
Toyota’s fuel-cell equipped Mirai has also gone on sale in Japan, with the company setting a goal of selling 30,000 fuel-cell vehicles a year by 2020 as part of its Toyota Environmental Challenge 2050.