Japanese automakers are betting big on hydrogen fuel vehicles, and they’ve convinced government officials to stack the deck in their favor. While the Japanese government has already signed on to offer at least $20,000 in incentives to cover the cost of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, some officials are reportedly calling for free hydrogen cars and fuel to early adopters.
Automotive News reports that in addition to the $20,000 from the Tokyo-based national government, Toyota’s home district of Aichi will offer an additional $10,000, bringing the cost of the Toyota FCV/Mirai down from $70,000 to just $40,000. As though that’s not enough, the Japanese government also plans to invest in some 100 hydrogen fueling stations to give drivers a place to fill up.
That’s pretty generous, but apparently there’s even a plan to offer some buyers a free, without any cost at all, hydrogen car. While these reports are tenous at best, perhaps a national lottery to give away the first 100 or so hydrogen cars to interested individuals might be a way to drum up interest amongst the general public. Who wouldn’t want a cutting-edge, free car, in exchange for taking part in an extensive driving study?
Considering all the challenges hydrogen cars have to overcome compared to battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, maybe giving a few away is a way to drum up some interest in a technology most people still don’t quite “get.”