Japan aims to have 80 new hydrogen refueling stations in place by fiscal 2021 under a government-backed effort that includes the country's largest automakers and energy groups.
Eleven companies including Toyota Motor and JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy jointly founded Japan H2 Mobility and aim to nearly double the nation's count of 92 hydrogen stations. The goal is to give long-range fuel cell vehicles a leg up on electric ones, which hold a significant lead among low-emission technologies.
The company is "a major step toward realizing a hydrogen society," Hiroshige Seko, Japan's minister of economy, trade and industry, said Monday in a video message. Participating companies will provide funds as well as staff for the project.
Hydrogen stations cost around 400 million yen to 500 million yen ($3.78 million to $4.73 million) to build. The government will pick up roughly half the tab of Japan H2's building spree.
Refueling stations "sometimes have just one or two cars come in per day," according to a JXTG executive, and generally operate in the red. Investing in a station independently is virtually impossible, which is one of the reasons the companies decided to team up.
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