According to The Asahi Shimbun, rival Japanese automakers Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. have started testing a joint project to supply electricity to evacuation centers and households during emergencies through a hydrogen-powered bus and portable batteries.
The verification tests in September were proposed after a succession of natural disasters recently struck Japan, noted Yoshihiko Hamamura, a Toyota official in charge of the project.
“We were seeking a way to take advantage of the strengths of the two companies not only to mitigate global warming (via fuel-efficiency improvement and other means) but also to directly contribute to disaster-hit regions,” Hamamura said.
The tests are also aimed at cutting operating costs of the companies' Moving e system by utilizing it for outdoor events and other non-emergency occasions.
Having it already used in such situations also enables it to be more easily put into operation when an emergency occurs.
Under the project, an upgraded Toyota fuel cell bus fitted with a hydrogen tank with double the capacity of its conventional counterpart will head to a disaster-hit area carrying 56 Honda portable batteries.
The batteries will be used at private homes and shelters where the power has been cut and repeatedly recharged on the bus.
The bus, which has a maximum output of up to 490 kilowatt-hours, is expected to travel 100 kilometers from the hydrogen station so electricity can be provided for three days to an evacuation facility accommodating 50 or so people.
Toyota and Honda previously were offering power from fuel cell vehicles to concert venues and elsewhere.
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