It’s no secret that the automotive industry does business in a very competitive environment. Carmakers try to outdo each other in terms of product offerings’ features, technology and even designs. It’s practically a show of one-upmanship.
Once in a while, however, some automakers come together to help advance the cause of the entire industry. Toyota Motor Corporation, Honda Motor Company and Nissan Motor Company are all set to collaborate in a joint venture to help develop hydrogen infrastructure in their Japanese home market. With all three manufacturers set on expanding their fuel cell vehicle (FCV) product lineups in the near future, it only makes sense that the three auto giants work together toward achieving this common goal.
The three automotive companies will provide partial funding for the operating expenses of select hydrogen filling stations set up by the Japanese government in coordination with private companies. Funds will be coursed through the Research Association of Hydrogen Support/Utilization Technology, a consortium that should help stimulate demand for hydrogen-powered vehicles in Japan.
Though the three manufacturers have been hard at work on FCV research and development, market demand for FCVs has yet to pick up. As it is with most new innovations, customers are initially skeptical about FCVs and fuel cell technology. Yes, hydrogen is clean and relatively safe, but as of now, refueling stations are few and far between, making gasoline-powered vehicles the more convenient choice.
The joint venture hopes to change all this by finding ways to make refueling FCVs safer, more efficient and more accessible by extending business hours and the number of days that stations are open. Likewise, the three companies aim to address customer needs and raise public awareness when it comes to hydrogen refueling and other FCV-related concerns.
We wish Honda, Toyota and Nissan the best of luck in this new joint venture. This will hopefully pave the way for truly clean motoring. And maybe our own car industry can learn a thing or two from them. Just saying.