Under the wave of electric vehicles, why does Japan take the national effort to develop hydrogen energy batteries?

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I clearly remember that at the company’s annual meeting last year, the boss of the Japanese branch spoke impassively about the broad prospects of hydrogen energy vehicles for 45 minutes, and planned to tilt the development focus to hydrogen energy.


To tell the truth, we district leaders sitting under the stage are stupid.

You know, we do automation, and the development of the enterprise follows the investment, while the investment in lithium battery is unprecedented: European colleagues talk about the investment and opportunities for the northvolt battery of new energy vehicles, I talk about the investment opportunities of domestic catl and BYD blade batteries, Korean bosses talk about the expansion of SK and LG in Asia, Europe and the United States for new energy batteries, and American colleagues talk about the broad market brought about by the rise of Tesla.

After the Japanese master finished speaking, we clapped symbolically. After the meeting, I found this humble old Japanese man and talked with him very seriously for a long time. This Japanese grandfather and son studied in the United States, then went to Germany to study and work for more than ten years, and later returned to work. He is a full technical controller. According to his own words, Japan’s development of hydrogen energy vehicles is actually a “national strategy, survival”.

I was so shocked that I came to understand it after consulting the information. Seeing this topic, I shared it with you here.


The high vote respondent has explained Japan’s hydrogen energy policy thoroughly. I won’t repeat it here.

To sum up, Japan started the hydrogen energy project as early as 1981. In 2008, it launched the fuel cell vehicle plan. In 2013, it adopted the Japanese rejuvenation strategy to develop hydrogen energy as a national policy. Through subsequent policies (including the energy basic plan and the development road map), by the end of 2030, the circulation of commercial hydrogen will be expanded in an all-round way, and hydrogen energy vehicles will be popularized by 2050.

Instead of analyzing data and technology, just give an example to show how much Japan attaches importance to it.

At present, Japan’s hydrogen stations are actually insufficient, and the research on hydrogen storage technology has not been completed. In this case, the government not only subsidizes car companies, but also the people who buy hydrogen energy vehicles. According to rough statistics, the state and the government can subsidize you 100000 yuan for a Toyota hydrogen energy vehicle, which is not a big deal.


Japan made a bet on hydrogen energy very many years ago. In fact, it has multiple considerations. At that time, hydrogen energy was indeed the most likely technical route for Japan to succeed for two simple reasons:

At present, Japan’s energy supply is almost all imported, while Japan has almost no upstream materials for lithium batteries. Once the hydrogen energy route is successful, Japan will completely get rid of its dependence on external resources.

At that time, Japan had mastered the world’s most hydrogen energy patents and was already leading the world. Japan hopes that the success of hydrogen energy vehicles will enable Japan to achieve “overtaking in corners” and allow Japan to enjoy industry dividends.

So to sum up, Japan chose hydrogen energy in order to get rid of its dependence on energy resources and achieve global harvest by virtue of its almost monopolized hydrogen energy patents.

Japan is a very tragic country, with a narrow and fragmented border, and is located in the active zone of volcanic earthquakes around the Pacific Ocean.

Most importantly, the country can hardly achieve energy independence. According to the data released by the Japan Atomic Power Consortium, Japan’s external dependence is 88%, and if nuclear power is not included, its external dependence is 92%. More than 90% of Japan’s coal, oil and natural gas are imported. In the recent conflict between Ukraine and Russia, Japan was bewildered to impose sanctions on Russia. As a result, the prices of oil, coal and natural gas imported from Russia soared. A developed country was called by the prime minister to “save electricity”, which was magical.

In addition, Japan has almost no domestic supply of lithium, cobalt and nickel as the anode and cathode raw materials for the production of lithium batteries. In terms of global layout, it is also completely suppressed. There is no sufficient and stable supply of raw materials, so there is no advantage in developing lithium batteries.

In contrast, China has actively deployed overseas in recent years. Although it is not a monopoly on supply, it is also a top ranked country. In particular, cobalt mines have also made great achievements: there are five major cobalt mines in the world, and two are controlled by mainland enterprises; Among the top ten cobalt mining enterprises in the world, there are four stations in the mainland, and Luoyang molybdenum is the second. It is interesting to know about China’s energy distribution abroad, so we won’t start here.

In short, Japan has looked around its small island. There is no heavy metal, coal or natural gas, but there is more seawater. Come on, let’s make hydrogen by electrolyzing water.


Moreover, the Japanese have an unusual attachment to nuclear power. The original plan was that after nuclear power generation meets daily needs, the excess electricity can be used to produce hydrogen. This total is a perfect solution to the energy problem.

On the other hand, Japan started the research on hydrogen energy very early, accumulated a number of leading technical patents, and wanted to rely on its own advantages in nuclear energy to produce hydrogen, and then use its technical advantages to unify the global new energy vehicle market. The little abacus crackled.

But there were two things that completely surprised Japan.

The first is that on march11,2011, Japan was hit by a magnitude 9.0 Earthquake, followed by a tsunami, and a nuclear leak occurred at Fukushima, Japan’s first nuclear power plant. The Fukushima nuclear accident was rated as a grade 7 extraordinarily serious accident by the Japan Atomic safety and Security Bureau, which is at the same level as the Chernobyl nuclear accident. After the Fukushima nuclear leak, Japan shut down almost all nuclear power plants. This leak also brought Japan’s nuclear energy resource development plan to a standstill. It is no exaggeration to say that the Fukushima incident can be called the turning point of Japan’s National Games.

Although Japan has restarted a small number of nuclear power plants by 2021, the proportion of nuclear power supporters is very low in Japan. Without the support of nuclear power, the so-called idea of hydrogen production from nuclear power is close to bankruptcy.


The second is the rapid development of electric vehicles in the world, especially in China, the United States and Europe. The explosive development of China, the United States and Europe on the electric car track was unexpected for Japan.

Originally, according to the concept of the hydrogen energy strategy released by the Japanese government, fuel cells and hydrogen fuel vehicles will be popularized throughout Japan in 2050. As a result, Tesla rose more than 30 years in advance, followed by the vigorous development of China’s electric vehicle industry chain.

Ningde times has become the world’s first lithium battery supplier, and BYD’s blade battery has also caused a sensation. Prince William of the British royal family has visited the Caribbean, and the special car picked up by the Bahamas government has been replaced by BYD Tang; At the same time, China has completed the improvement and development of a full set of industrial chains in the lithium battery industry. Almost all the cells, modules and pack manufacturing processes produced by lithium battery have been shared by Chinese suppliers. At the same time, European auto giants such as Mercedes Benz, BMW and Volkswagen are not willing to be outdone. They have expressed that they will turn the tide and fight to the death with the new forces of car making, and will never be the second Nokia.

When everyone is in full swing, the mileage of electric vehicles that consumers can buy is getting longer and longer, which is close to the mileage of fuel vehicles; At the same time, the car price is also getting lower and lower under the guidance of Tesla. The whole electric vehicle market is booming, and the competition is becoming increasingly fierce.


At this time, Japan was basically stupid: the world did not play according to the Japanese script!

In 2019, seeing that electric vehicles will dominate the world, Toyota hastily announced the opening of hydrogen fuel technology patents. It should be noted that before, Toyota ranked first in the number of hydrogen energy patents. Toyota Vice President Carter said that “great things happen when good ideas are shared”.

Unfortunately, Toyota’s opening of hydrogen energy technology did not attract the expected market attention, but accelerated its decline. Even in 2021, the peak year, Toyota only sold more than 5000 Mirai hydrogen energy vehicles.

In the same year, Nissan announced that it would suspend cooperation with Daimler and Ford to develop hydrogen fuel vehicles and focus on developing pure electric vehicles. Japan’s second car company defected to pure electric.

After the defeat, Honda said it would no longer produce hydrogen fueled vehicles that use hydrogen as fuel. So far, under the words of the Japanese government, the world’s strongest hydrogen energy alliance composed of 11 Japanese enterprises led by Toyota has actually disintegrated.

Originally, I wanted to use hydrogen energy vehicles to overtake in the curve and lead Japan out of the failure of semiconductors and the Internet. As a result, thousands of sails passed by the side of the sunken boat and thousands of trees were in front of the sick tree. All the efforts of Japan have become the background in the history of the rapid development of lithium batteries.

This is not over yet. China has launched a “strategic promotion of the development of new energy industry”. The 14th five year plan released last year aims to develop hydrogen energy as a future industrial zone, realize the layout of the hydrogen energy industry chain, and thoroughly squeeze Japan’s hydrogen energy market with the method of occupying pits.

This strategy is too cruel to Japan. I can’t bear to say it in detail. Just one thing: in this year’s Winter Olympics, Beijing built 1000 hydrogen energy vehicles, and then equipped with 30 hydrogen refueling stations, showing hydrogen power in front of the world.

Murder kills the heart.


There is another domestic enterprise, Weichai, which is not very popular at ordinary times. Weifang has two large enterprises, Weichai and Goethe. I visited Weichai before when I was in sales. To be honest, I didn’t think there was any high-end product. I just knew that the production line and equipment standards of the factory were very high. Now I found that the fuel cell engine of Weichai is world-class. Coupled with the power of the industrial chain of a large country, the layout of hydrogen energy in China can not be underestimated.

In conclusion, considering Japan’s vigorous development of nuclear energy and its control over hydrogen energy patents, Japan’s gambling on hydrogen energy was actually one of the few ways out at that time; However, due to the rapid development of electric vehicles in China and the United States and the unexpected energy supply in Japan, Japan, which originally wanted to overtake in the corner, can not even see the tail lights of the electric vehicles in China and the United States.


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