EVブームの次に来るFCVのメガトレンド!! 日本のダントツ水素技術が世界を圧倒か!?①

世界的な「EV(電気自動車)シフト」の潮流の陰で、存在感が薄くなったように見えるFCV(燃料電池自動車)だが、今後の展開はどのようになるのだろうか? このたび『日本の国家戦略「水素エネルギー」で飛躍するビジネス』を上梓した西脇文男氏に解説してもらった。
FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) that seems to have become less visible in the shade of the trend of the global “EV (electric vehicle) shift”, but what will be the future expansion? I am asked by Mr. Fumio Nishiwaki who upgraded “Japan’s national strategy” business to leap on hydrogen energy “.

Positioning FCV as the leading role of next generation car
As the EV shift progresses, the presence of FCV, the other leading role of next generation environmental vehicles, is diminishing. In December 2014, Toyota “MIRAI (Milai)” debuted spectacularly as the first FCV production car. Since then, three and a half years ago, the number of units spreading is only 10,000 units, which is not to be compared with EV exceeding 3 million units.

EV already entered the diffusion period, mass production effect began to appear, and the vehicle price is falling to a reachable level. In one FCV, maintenance of the hydrogen station did not proceed, the vehicle price has not decreased since that time “MIRAI” was released.
It is Japan that puts this FCV as the leading role of the next-generation car, and puts most emphasis on development and dissemination. Why?

One is due to Japan’s energy policy. Since the nuclear accident, imports of fossil fuels have increased, the energy self-sufficiency rate has dropped to a level below 10%, and CO2 reduction has not progressed as planned. FCV is an eco-friendly car that is in line with national policy for Japan that sets “hydrogen society construction” as a national policy as a key to energy security and global warming.
The second is from the perspective of industrial policy. In a combination type of parts and technologies, technological entry barriers to EVs can not fully demonstrate the strengths of Japan. Also, although parts industries that support automobile production are concentrated in Japan, the parts manufacturer’s business and employment are also becoming narrower.

On the other hand, FCV has more parts than gasoline-powered vehicles, and can not be developed or produced without advanced technology. This is exactly the high technology of the Japanese automobile industry, the market where the production method integrated with parts manufacturers is active, and the market where Japan can demonstrate its superiority.
Hydrogen station holding the key to the spread of FCV
Well, is there a win over FCV?

The preceding EV also has a major weak point. It has a short distance to run with one charge and a long charging time. Although the cruising distance has been growing with the increase in the performance of the storage battery, it is said that it is difficult to completely eliminate the weak point. In this regard, FCV can run about 700 km with one hydrogen filling, filling time is also about 3 minutes and is the same as gasoline refueling.

On the other hand, the biggest weakness of FCV is that the number of hydrogen stations is small. FCV and hydrogen station are said to be “chicken first, egg ahead” relationship. If the hydrogen station is not maintained, FCV will not spread, and if the number of FCVs spread is small, even if a hydrogen station is opened, it will not be a business, so new establishment will not proceed.
But the answer is “The chicken or the egg is the beginning” is clear. Without the hydrogen station maintenance, FCV will not spread and spread. At the early stages of dissemination, it is necessary to develop hydrogen stations ahead of time.

西脇 文男