These subsidies mean that consumers pay around 5 million yen for Toyota's fuel-cell sedan

Japan is getting serious about fuel cell vehicles by way of subsidies, according to a new report from Reuters

After test driving fuel cell vehicles last week at a hydrogen station, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the media that Japan will offer 2 million yen ($19,700 USD) in subsidies for fuel cell vehicles. 

"This is the car of a new era because it doesn't emit any carbon dioxide and it's environmentally friendly," said Abe. "The government needs to support this."

These subsidies mean that consumers pay around 5 million yen for Toyota's fuel-cell sedan, which is priced at about 7 million yen. It's expected to go on sale by the end of March 2015.

Toyota showed off its first production hydrogen fuel cell sedan last month, which is based on the FCV concept.  

While Toyota hasn’t revealed specs for the production model yet, the FCV concept featured a lightweight fuel cell stack (with a power output density of 3 kW/l), two 70 MPa high-pressure hydrogen tanks, and total output of over 100 kW to power the vehicle. 

Toyota's hydrogen fuel cell car

Toyota isn't alone in the quest for hydrogen fuel cell cars. In July 2013, General Motors (GM) and Honda announced that they'd team up for fuel cell vehicle technology as well. They hope to commercialize the technology by 2020. 

But not everyone in the auto industry is onboard. In fact, Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said hydrogen fuel cell cars were "bullshit" last October. Obviously, Musk is more about EVs like his company's all-electric Model S and upcoming Model X SUV

“And then they’ll say certain technologies like fuel cell … oh god … fuel cell is so bullshit. Except in a rocket," said Musk. 

Toyota argues, however, that EVs need at least two major breakthroughs before they can replace gasoline or hybrid vehicles. 
"The reason why Toyota doesn’t introduce any major [all-electric product] is because we do not believe there is a market to accept it,” said Uchiyamada. "I personally expect a lot from this hydrogen fuel cell technology. If government and industry work together, this might be part of the long-term solution."

Source: Reuters

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