Japanese gas suppliers and oil companies will seek to build some 100 hydrogen supply stations at four major city areas to prepare for the launch of mass-produced hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles in 2015.

A total of 10 energy companies made the announcement in a statement jointly issued with Toyota Motor Corp, Nissan Motor Co and Honda Motor Co, signaling their coordinated efforts to expand the next-generation eco-friendly vehicle in Japan.

‘‘Automakers and hydrogen fuel suppliers will work together to expand the introduction of FCVs and develop the hydrogen supply network throughout Japan,’’ the statement said, while also calling on the government to support their efforts.

Fuel-cell cars run on electricity generated by the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen, and developing necessary infrastructure is essential to make the vehicle widely used.

But the infrastructure costs are currently high, with about 600 million yen required to build one hydrogen fueling station, according to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

In building 100 hydrogen stations, energy companies hope to reduce the costs to around 200 million yen each through regulatory reviews and technology development, an official of one of the energy companies said.

The four areas where the companies would seek to build hydrogen fueling stations center on Tokyo, Aichi, Osaka and Fukuoka.

The 10 energy companies include JX Nippon Oil & Energy Corp, Idemitsu Kosan Co, and Cosmo Oil Co, as well as Tokyo Gas Co and Osaka Gas Co.

Source: Japan Today