TOKYO -- (BLOOMBERG) -- Japan's three biggest automakers plan to help cover the cost of operating hydrogen stations in the country to popularize cars powered by fuel cells.
Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. will cover as much as one-third of operating expenses for stations run by infrastructure companies, they said in a joint statement on Wednesday, July 1. The support will be capped at ¥11 million ($89,400) a station. The program will run until about 2020 and cost an estimated $40.6 million to $48.8 million, said Kiyotaka Ise, senior managing officer at Toyota.
Japan is planning to build hydrogen distribution facilities to encourage the use of what Toyota has called the next generation of auto technology. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said the nation will create a "hydrogen society," with fuel cells also powering homes and office buildings.
Researcher Fuji Keizai estimates that Japan's market for hydrogen used in fuel cell vehicles will grow to almost $812.8 million by fiscal 2025 from $3.3 million this fiscal year.
Japan's national and local governments have also said they will subsidize the cost of operating hydrogen stations.