In Europe, there is a commitment to electric cars for the necessary decarbonization of transport, something that will become increasingly evident in the coming years, with regulations that restrict fossil fuel cars. However, Japan is committed to another alternative for the future of road transport, hydrogen. The main idea is that refueling hydrogen cars is more practical for the urban population than charging electric batteries, although hydrogen cars have other disadvantages in terms of efficiency or price.

In Japan, according to NPR, most of the population lives in dense urban areas, in apartment blocks where there may be little space for charging electric cars. The refueling of hydrogen fuel cell cars, on the other hand, is very similar to that of combustion cars, so they do not require a change in driver behaviour. Today, however, there are few service stations that refuel with hydrogen (100 points in Japan), and the Japanese government, together with manufacturers such as Toyota, intends to promote the creation of infrastructure, with the aim of having 900 stations in 2030.

Ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games, Tokyo wants to have 100 hydrogen city buses on the road, and up to 200,000 fuel cell cars on the road within six years. The efforts are part of a broader commitment by the country to become the first “hydrogen society” as a source of energy generation.

Hydrogen is abundant, and can be produced anywhere in the world, eliminating energy dependency. Hydrogen fuel cells emit only water, and don’t make noise, any more than electric cars do. Consumption hydrogen production, on the other hand, may not be clean — it may require the use of natural gas or coal — as it is currently an energy-intensive process, driving up the price of fuel. On the negative balance, moreover, hydrogen cars are currently as expensive or more expensive than electric cars.