One of the advantages hydrogen fuel cell [HFC] vehicles have over electric vehicles [EV] is that they refuel in the same amount of time as a conventional gasoline-powered vehicle. However, HFCs and EVs share at least one disadvantage, limited refueling stations.
At first, EVs didn’t have much in the way of public recharging stations, but as more EVs are being adopted, charging stations are becoming much more common. At least EV owners always had the option of recharging at home on a basic LI 120V or LII 240V circuit.
By 2015, most major automakers have agreed that they will have at least one HFC vehicle on the road, essentially EVs with HFC generators on board. This is where infrastructure is critical since, without hydrogen refueling stations, HFC vehicles are essentially one-ton paperweights. Businesses may be able to afford hydrogen fuel generators, but consumers have almost no access to these.
In order to foster increased acceptance and utilization of HFC vehicles, Japan’s “JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corporation plans to open 40 hydrogen refueling stations by 2015, when automakers will launch commercial fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). In January 2011, thirteen automakers and energy companies signed up to a target of 100 hydrogen refuelling stations in Japan by 2015.” – Fuel Cell Today.
Installation of these new hydrogen refueling stations is already under way, with ten already in place in Japan, and two more by the end of February. These dozen-or-so test stations will be used to determine the best way to go about hydrogen fuel generation and station installation practices. If Japanese automakers and energy companies are going to meet their goal of 100 hydrogen refueling stations by 2015, then they’ll need to seriously ramp up production.