Toyota, Nissan, Honda back hydrogen stations for fuel cells

Tokyo, July 1

Toyota, Nissan and Honda are working together to get more fuel cell vehicles on roads in what they call Japan’s big push toward ‘a hydrogen society’.

Fuel cell vehicles emit no pollution. They run on the power created when hydrogen stored as fuel combines with oxygen in the air to make water.

Hydrogen fuelling stations are needed to make the technology a viable option. Only 23 have opened in Japan so far, with hundreds more being planned.

The automakers pledged up to $90,000 per hydrogen station per year, to build and maintain them.

Officials from Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co and Honda Motor Co appeared together in a news conference in Tokyo today.

The stations already get government subsidies, but they are very expensive and are operating in the red. The financing is designed to alleviate that, and proliferation of the technology is expected to lower costs.

Japan is trying to get ahead of the rest of the world in a push for a hydrogen society, which requires energy firms, automakers and the government to work together. Japan also wants to make fuel cells a showcase for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

The concern about running out of fossil fuels affects many nations, but it’s especially telling for resource-poor Japan. Green auto technology is also critical to curb global warming.