The Japanese government is planning to offer at least JPY2 million ($19,700) in subsidies for fuel-cell vehicles, media reports cite Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as saying. The offer comes as the government and Japanese carmakers join hand to accelerate the introduction of the fuel-cell vehicles.
With the subsidy, buyers of the Toyota FCV – priced at around JPY7 million – would be able to purchase the fuel-cell sedan for just about JPY5 million. Abe has vowed to support the technology through subsidies and by having government agencies purchase such cars.
"This is the car of a new era because it doesn't emit any carbon dioxide and it's environmentally friendly," Abe told reporters. Abe's growth strategy entails promotion of hydrogen energy and fuel-cell cars.
These vehicles use hydrogen as fuel while being powered by electricity derived from cells that combine hydrogen with oxygen. The process emits only water vapor and heat, although some carbon dioxide is released when hydrogen is produced from hydrocarbons.
Honda Motor Co. is set to follow suit, targeting to sell its own fuel-cell vehicle in 2015. Both the Japanese government and industry experts believe the fuel cell technology could take decades be adapted widely partly due the costs of setting up infrastructure of hydrogen fuel stations.