TOKYO, Japan, May 19, 2017 (ENS) - Ten Japanese automotive and fuel companies and the Development Bank of Japan today announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration toward the large-scale construction of hydrogen fueling stations across Japan for fuel cell vehicles.
The automotive companies are Japan's Big Three: Toyota, Nissan and Honda.
The MOU is aimed at achieving the acceleration of the construction of hydrogen stations in the current early stage of fuel cell vehicle commercialization using an "all Japan" approach centered on collaboration among the 11 companies.
It stems from the Japanese government's "Strategic Roadmap for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells." This document was compiled by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and announced on June 23, 2014 and then revised on March 22, 2016.
The Roadmap sets a target of 160 operational hydrogen stations and 40,000 in-use fuel cell vehicles by fiscal 2020.
Recognizing the challenges facing the hydrogen station business in early-stage commercialization of fuel cell vehicles, the MOU is based on the idea that the companies concerned should cooperate and fulfill their respective roles to achieve the strategic development of hydrogen stations for maximizing fuel cell vehicle demand and to contribute to the steady popularization of fuel cell vehicles.
"Fuel cell vehicles are particularly attractive," said the Development Bank of Japan in a forward-looking 2008 report, "because they generate no CO2 - only water vapor. Electricity generated through a chemical reaction in the fuel cells between hydrogen and oxygen powers the electric motors that propel the car."
As a specific form of such cooperation, the 11 companies will consider establishing a new company this year.
The new company would aim to achieve steady construction of hydrogen stations by implementing measures to support hydrogen-station construction and operation.
Additionally, the new company would aim to achieve wider adoption of fuel cell vehicles and the independence of the hydrogen station business through activities for reducing costs, including a governmental review of regulations.
The new company would also undertake activities for improving operational efficiencies, in a push to contribute to "the realization of a hydrogen society in Japan," the 11 companies said in a statement.
The 11 companies will consider ways for broad participation by other companies in the future and will distribute information to accomplish that goal.
The 11 companies that signed the Memorandum of Understanding are:
- Toyota Motor Corporation (President: Akio Toyoda),
- Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (President: Hiroto Saikawa),
- Honda Motor Co., Ltd. (President: Takahiro Hachigo),
- JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy (President: Tsutomu Sugimori),
- Idemitsu Kosan Co., Ltd. (President: Takashi Tsukioka),
- Iwatani Corporation (President: Mitsuhiro Tanimoto),
- Tokyo Gas Co., Ltd. (President: Michiaki Hirose), Toho Gas Co., Ltd. (President: Yoshiro Tominari),
- Air Liquide Japan Ltd. (President: Shiro Yahara)
- Toyota Tsusho Corporation (President: Jun Karube) and Development Bank of Japan Inc. (President: Masanori Yanagi)
Back in November 2015, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared the hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicle “the ultimate eco-car,” based on their promise of environmental friendliness and Japan’s automakers. This new collaboration seeks to make that vision into reality.
PHOTO: 2017 Honda Clarity Fuel Cell car (Photo courtesy Honda)