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Japan Forges Ahead With Hydrogen Fuel Stations

(Credit: Toyota)

Fuel Efficiency

Japan Forges Ahead With Hydrogen Fuel Stations

2016 Toyota Mirai

2016 Toyota Mirai (Credit: Toyota)

Japan is bolding going where no other country has gone before, creating an extensive hydrogen fueling infrastructure. As reported originally by Bloomberg, the country’s biggest automakers are behind the push: Honda, Toyota and Nissan. They plan to foot about a third of the bill, which comes out to about $90,000 per hydrogen refueling station.

The island nation is at the forefront of an energy revolution that is being driven in part by the disasters it suffered at the hands of a catastrophic nuclear disaster. Government officials have stated that they will help subsidize the cost of using hydrogen to power vehicles.

Even more surprising is the fact that this latest move by the Japanese government is going far beyond just powering cars. Eventually, hydrogen will be used to power homes and businesses as well, triggering a revolution in the country’s energy infrastructure.

The news isn’t being received well by electric car proponents, who argue that hydrogen is a less efficient and less practical way to power vehicles. Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla Motors, and others have been vocal about calling hydrogen fuel cell technology a dead end. In fact, they assert that supporting it is a waste of time and takes away from the true energy revolution taking place in the United States and beyond.

Toyota has been especially aggressive about pushing hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, such as its Mirai. It argues that the technology allows people to enjoy the benefits of what electric vehicles present, without the drawbacks. For example, refueling a vehicle takes only a few minutes. Driving range is also similar to what drivers are used to with gasoline-powered vehicles.

Honda has plans to unveil its hydrogen fuel cell vehicle this year. The company says that the new model will be able to drive about 435 miles between fuel stops.

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