Japan's top 3 carmakers to cooperate in popularizing FCVs

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TOKYO. KAZINFORM - Japan's three biggest carmakers said Thursday they have agreed to cooperate in promoting fuel-cell vehicles, as they face difficulty developing infrastructure for the popularization of the advanced environmentally friendly cars.

Toyota Motor Corp., Nissan Motor Co. and Honda Motor Co. "have jointly recognized the need for automobile manufacturers to promote the development of hydrogen station infrastructure alongside the government and infrastructure companies," the three automakers said in a joint statement. They "will give careful consideration to concrete initiatives, such as underwriting a portion of the expenses involved in the operation of hydrogen stations," the statement said. The move came after Toyota launched the Mirai, the world's first hydrogen-powered vehicle for the mass market, in Japan late last year. The automaker said last month it aims to more than quadruple annual production of the sedan to 3,000 vehicles in 2017 from the current level amid strong demand. Fuel-cell vehicles are seen as one of the most promising future green cars as they run on electricity generated from a chemical reaction of hydrogen and oxygen and produce no harmful exhaust, just water. The relatively modest pace of production highlights difficulties Toyota and other carmakers face in making fuel-cell vehicles a viable option in the mass market, due not only to higher costs but also to a limited number of hydrogen-refueling stations, crucial infrastructure for their popularization. In the statement, the three carmakers said they will announce at a later date specific measures they will jointly undertake to help accelerate the development of hydrogen stations. Toyota also said last month it will allow other firms to freely use its nearly 6,000 patents related to fuel cells, a key component of its advanced cars, in order to spread the technology globally and prompt competition for further development. The rare decision for a manufacturer came as Honda, Nissan and their foreign rivals are preparing to roll out their own fuel-cell models over the next few years. Source: Kyodo

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