Japan Wants to Make the 2020 Olympics Hydrogen Powered

7 years, 6 months ago - 21 September 2015, Autoblog
Japan Wants to Make the 2020 Olympics Hydrogen Powered
Hey, the Olympics wouldn't be the Olympics without cost overruns, right? With the Summer Olympics returning to Tokyo in 2020 (they were there in 1964), the Japanese government wants to use the festivities to showcase hydrogen fuel-cell technology to the world. And, like the Olympics, the exercise won't be cheap.

The Tokyo government plans on promoting the so-called "Hydrogen society" at the games, and may spend more than $300 million building out hydrogen-refueling infrastructure, Green Car Reports says. In all, there are plans for at least 100 fuel-cell buses in and around the city, in addition to thousands of other private fuel-cell vehicles. Toyota, whose Mirai is the world's first production hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle, is kicking in some of the costs, as are fellow Japanese automakers Honda and Nissan.

Toyota has also been working on a carbon-neutral hydrogen-supply chain in order to deflect criticism that making hydrogen is a far less a "green" operation than advertised. The automaker is working with Yokohama City and Kawasaki City in Japan on a system that uses water and electricity from the wind, and minimal electricity from the grid, to make hydrogen, Hybrid Cars says.

This summer, Honda, Nissan, and Toyota announced the Joint Hydrogen Infrastructure Support Project, and said they would subsidize as much as $90,000 worth of annual operating expenses for each hydrogen refueling station built. That could add up to a $50-million hit collectively for the three automakers.

Meanwhile, the government of Japan wants to have 6,000 fuel-cell vehicle on its roads by the time the Olympics hit town, while Tokyo setting aside about $385 million for subsidies for potential car buyers and builders of hydrogen refueling stations. The city is hoping for as many as 100,000 fuel-cell vehicles on Tokyo's roads by 2025.