Gas Station Owners Push for Hydrogen Fuel Cells in Japan


The gas station industry isn’t just taking a nap while Elon Musk and Tesla are busy making everyone else look bad. The big fuel distributors have an infrastructure that EVs, for the moment, can’t match – and they want to continue to be able to capitalize on that infrastructure in a “green” tomorrow. That means they want a future that involves their filling stations.

Nowhere is this more obvious than in Japan, where oil distributors have started to retrofit gas stations to allow them to fill hydrogen fuel cells. The Japanese government is, so far, eager to provide financial assistance to and is considering additional deregulation of hydrogen to make it easier to set up the fuel supply networks for fuel-cell vehicles like the Honda Clarity.

The gas station industry (as quoted in the Japan Times) is quick to point out that electric vehicles need nearly 30 minutes to fully charge (and that’s with a quick-charger), but may only travel 100 miles on that charge. A fuel cell vehicle, by contrast, needs three minutes to refuel with 5 kg of hydrogen (about the same amount of time as a gasoline-fueled car) which would allow it to travel nearly 300 miles.

So, could we expect to see a push towards hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles in the US funded by gas station lobbies? Probably! “It’s possible fuel cell vehicles might replace electric vehicles,” according to Toyota Motor Corp. Vice Chairman Takeshi Uchiyamada, and Toyota seems to know what people want to buy, you know?

I’m not sure I like the idea of continued dependence on an established infrastructure (as opposed to a home charger or home filling station for CNG), but the emissions from hydrogen (basically water) are certainly an improvement over the emissions from gasoline. We’ll just ignore that whole “Hindenburg” thing, then, and keep looking out for those silver linings.


Source: Japan Times.


Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.