Back in February, we reported that Honda, Nissan, and Toyota had joined forces to create a hydrogen fueling infrastructure in Japan. At the time, we had no details about what the three might do or how much they might spend on such endeavors.
Now we know. In a joint press release, the automakers say that:
"In addition to partially covering the operating costs of hydrogen stations, the three automakers have also agreed to help infrastructure companies deliver the best possible customer service and create a convenient, hassle-free refueling network for owners of fuel cell vehicles (FCVs)." (emphasis ours)
It's worth noting that Honda, Nissan, and Toyota aren't actually building the stations themselves. That piece of the puzzle is left to developers, with construction subsidized via the government's recently unveiled Strategic Road Map for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells. Automakers, meanwhile, will ensure that consumers feel comfortable with the hydrogen fueling process, which will ease the public's transition to FCVs.
In other words, developers are building the restaurant, automakers are training the waitstaff.
What does that mean in practical terms? Honda, Nissan, and Toyota say that they're going to be deeply involved in the entire hydrogen fueling experience. In particular, they'll be:
- Using information such as customer needs and hydrogen station operating rates to improve customer service levels
- Improving the convenience of hydrogen stations by increasing the number of days they are open, extending their business hours, enhancing and providing operational information, and developing hydrogen station infrastructure that is easy to access
- Raising public awareness about FCVs and hydrogen
As far as pricetags are concerned, the companies say they've budgeted around 11 million yen ($89,342) per station. As Bloomberg reports, the agreement will run through 2020 and cost between 5 billion and 6 billion yen ($40.6 million to $48.7 million) in total.
The big question is, though: will any of this sell FCVs like the Toyota Mirai? Stay tuned.