Toyota and Shell are ramping up plans to build more hydrogen fueling stations, with seven more coming to California. Shell is also part of a German government-backed group that wants 400 hydrogen fueling stations built in that country by 2023 and Toyota is planning to showcase the clean fuel for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The City of Tokyo is planning to spend $520 million on subsidies and fueling stations to help further that goal.
Despite the success of Toyota’s hybrid cars, their end goal is for hydrogen fuel cells to replace gasoline, not pure electric. Toyota has said previously that they feel strongly that hydrogen will be the major source of motor fuel in the future. The Mirai’s hydrogen tank can be filled up in three minutes, instead of the hour or more for an EV, and about the only thing coming out of the tailpipe is water. Toyota hopes that their early adoption will give them the same advantage they had in the hybrid sector with the early introduction of the Prius. To that end, they are hoping to ramp up production of their fuel cell powered Mirai to 30,000 per year by 2020. That’s up from just 3,000 last year.
To sell that many cars, they’ll need more filling stations. A three-minute fill-up isn’t helpful if there are only 25 stations in the entire state. But Shell and Toyota aren’t building the new fueling network on their own. The seven new stations are coming with $16 million in support from the government of California.
Shell and Toyota are already working together as part of the Hydrogen Council. Energy companies like Shell would have a hard time moving into electrics, but hydrogen is a more natural progression. Toyota and Shell, along with Air Liquide, BMW, Daimler, Honda, and Hyundai, are all part of the Hydrogen Council, a group announced last year that will spend $14 billion on increasing the availability and acceptance of the fuel.
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