Carol Paton Writer at Large

Japan has taken a big bet on hydrogen as the next form of energy and is working with determination to make sure it pays off. There is, however, a long way to go. Honda, which released its Clarity Hydrogen fuel cell car in March 2016, sold only 217 units in the first year and the car retails at ¥2m ($17,600) more than a conventional sedan car with an internal combustion engine. Japan’s other serious hydrogen car producer, Toyota, has not done that much better with 3,000 Mirai’s sold after three years of sales. Despite this, there is still reason to believe that the country, with its remarkable ability to pull in one direction and its exceptional co-operation between industry and government is going to win this bet. The country plans a complete hydrogen value chain by 2030. The targets are ambitious. It is envisaged that there will be 400,000 fuel cell vehicles in use by 2020, with a network of 900 hydrogen fuel stations to supply them. Building new infrastructure and a network of hyd...

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