Toyota’s new CEO Koji Sato will continue to prioritize and invest in hydrogen vehicle development despite a lack of demand and significant hurdles in creating a hydrogen fuel infrastructure in Japan. Hydrogen is often touted as the greenest fuel to cut CO2 emissions. However, producing hydrogen takes a lot of effort which often negates the net-zero emissions argument. Proponents will point out that hydrogen is the most abundant fuel in the universe, but not include the small print that it is also one of the most explosive. Hydrogen has to be super-chilled to form a liquid state, it’s also invisible so when a leak occurs you will never know.
The pros and cons of hydrogen fuel are well known, but the real issue is this. If hydrogen is the most abundant feul in the universe, why is it not abundantly available? Even the statistics are against Toyota. Japan currently has 166 hydrogen refueling stations vs 29,000 gasoline stations. The hydrogen experiment has clearly failed, yet Toyota’s new CEO is prioritizing the fuel, during a recent interview Koji Sato said:
The continuation with hydrogen fuel is at odds with Toyota’s “EV” mindset, a mindset initiated by Sato who is officially installed as Toyota’s new CEO in April. Sato’s strategy is to expand Japan’s current hydrogen infrastructure. However, Toyota’s customers are not convinced, only 21,000 have bought the Mirai hydrogen fuel cell car since it launched in 2014.
If Toyota’s customers are not buying hydrogen cars in great quantities, and the state of Japan’s current hydrogen infrastructure is virtually non-existent… why is Toyota persisting with the most abundant fuel in the universe when there is no demand for it. It isn’t abundantly clear.