Honda and Toyota, two of Japan’s largest automakers, have wholly embraced hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as the alternative fuel of the future. They aren’t alone either, with the Japanese government doling out a huge $20,000 incentive towards the purchase of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, reports Reuters.
That’s more than double the maximum of $8,500 buyers can get back from the purchase of an all-electric vehicle. However, all of the electric vehicles sold by Japanese automakers are much, much cheaper than the $70,000 Toyota FCV, for example. Even so, this generous incentive brings the cost down to a more palatable $50,000 (ish), though that’s no guarantee that buyers are ready to sign on.
As it stands there are just 12 stations online along Japan’s “hydrogen highway”, though by the end of 2015 the number should be closer to 100. Compare that to an estimated 12,000 EV chargers that Japanese automakers are teaming up to install, and even with this huge incentive, electric vehicles seem to have a huge advantage.
Don’t tell that to Toyota or Hyundai though; both automakers are committing tremendous resources to advance hydrogen, cutting off their EV programs at the knees in a bid to make hydrogen viable. In Japan, heavy incentives will certainly help, but can the same generosity be counted on in the U.S. or Europe?