Nissan, Toyota, Honda Pushing for ‘Hydrogen Society’
Nissan, Toyota and Honda don’t collaborate very often. But when they do, the outcomes promise to be positive for the auto industry and consumers alike.
It’s not very often we can report that Japan’s three biggest automakers are working in collaboration. But we can today. That’s because Toyota, Nissan and Honda have joined forces to get more hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered vehicles on Japan’s roads, in what they refer to as a big push towards “a hydrogen society”.
It’s great news for the environment as fuel cell vehicles emit no pollution. They’re powered by compressed hydrogen stored as fuel which when combined with the oxygen in the air makes water and powers the electric motor propelling the vehicle.
However, the technology needs hydrogen fuelling stations to make it a viable mainstream option, of which there are just 23 already open in Japan. Hundreds more are planned for the future though and the big three seem committed to ensuring their ongoing operation, with promises of $90,000 per station per year for their construction and maintenance.
Officials from Nissan Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. announced their partnership at a news conference in Tokyo on Wednesday.
The reason why so few hydrogen fuelling stations exist is due to their expensive setup costs and the fact that they often operate in the red, despite receiving government subsidies. But with Nissan, Toyota and Honda behind them, it is thought that their costs will be lowered and fortunes turned around.
With the car giants’ help, Japan is hoping to emerge as a world leader in fuel cell technology and it is expected to feature heavily and be showcased at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
The earth’s fossil fuel reserves are running out and alternative fuel sources are desperately needed, especially in countries like Japan which are resource-poor. Green auto technology is also an important step towards cutting carbon emissions and curbing global warming.
Nissan executive Hitoshi Kawaguchi recognised that while automakers can compete when it comes to products, including hydrogen-fuel-cell-powered cars, they have to cooperate for the greater good of the necessary infrastructure, such as the fuelling stations needed.
It is thought that hydrogen fuelling stations stand to benefit from around $50 million worth of investment from the three automakers.
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