EVs are the darling of the media. In Europe, the Leaf is the COTY. In the U.S. and Canada, the range extended Volt is the COTY. Then why are most big European manufacturers (except Renault) and most Japanese manufacturers (except Nissan) dragging their heels when it comes to wholesale electrification of their fleets? Maybe because they are working on wholesale adoption of hydrogen. As previously reported, there are agreements between automakers and governments in Europe, North America, Korea and Japan to prepare for the mass introduction of fuel cell cars by 2015. Japan is ahead of the game.
Thirteen Japanese companies (no bad omen in Asia, nine would be bad, four would be really bad) got together to move ahead with hydrogen: Toyota, ,Nissan, Honda on the manufacturer side teamed up with supplier-side companies JX Nippon Oil & Energy, Idemitsu Kosan, Iwatani, Osaka Gas, Cosmo Oil, Saibu Gas, Showa Shell, Taiyo Nippon Sanso, Tokyo Gas, and Toho Gas. Note the presence of gas and gasoline companies. Note the presence of Nissan.
- As development of fuel-cell systems progresses, Japanese automakers are continuing to drastically reduce the cost of manufacturing such systems and are aiming to launch FCVs in the Japanese market—mainly in the country’s four major metropolitan areas—in 2015. The automobile industry hopes to popularize the use of FCVs after their initial introduction as a way of tackling energy and environmental issues.
- Hydrogen fuel suppliers are aiming to construct approximately 100 hydrogen fueling stations by 2015, based on the number of FCVs expected to initially enter the market, to ensure a smooth launch and to create initial market.
- With an aim to significantly reduce the amount of CO2 emitted by the transportation sector, automakers and hydrogen fuel suppliers will work together to expand the introduction of FCVs and develop the hydrogen supply network throughout Japan. The two groups are looking to the government to join them in forming various strategies to support their joint efforts and to gain greater consumer acceptance.