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Fuel-Cell Vehicles Only Affordable in Japan, Says VW

September 10, 2014

Photo courtesy of Toyota
Photo courtesy of Toyota

Volkswagen has little faith that hydrogen fuel cell vehicles (FCVs) will to do well outside of Japan, according to the president of VW's Japanese division.

Shigeru Shoji, president of VW Group Japan, made the statements in an interview last week, saying refueling will be impractical due to the high cost of building the infrastructure needed for FCVs, according to a Bloomberg report.

The Japanese government has given 3 million yen in subsidies for the FCVs, which few other countries will be able to match, says Shoji.

Shoji isn’t the only one hesitant about the success of fuel-cell technology in other markets. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk has said lithium-ion batteries are superior to hydrogen-fuel cells.

Toyota plans to offer a fuel-cell vehicle in April in Japan that will cost just under $70,000. The Japanese government plans to offer rebates for the FCVs. The hydrogen market in Japan is set to expand to 1 trillion yen by 2030.

California is also investing about $200 million in the build-out of a fuel-cell vehicle fueling network. Honda plans to offer a competing hydrogen fuel-cell vehicle in 2015.

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