Toyota heads to Davos to lobby for hydrogen

The Hydrogen Council also lists BMW, Daimler, Honda and Hyundai on its membership list.

Five automakers and eight other companies have formed the Hydrogen Council, a lobbying group heading to Davos, Switzerland.

A top Toyota executive co-chairs the initiative alongside a colleague from French gas supplier Air Liquide. BMW Group, Daimler, Honda and Hyundai are also involved.

"We need governments to back hydrogen with actions of their own, for example through large-scale infrastructure investment schemes," says Air Liquide chief BenoƮt Potier. "Our call today to world leaders is to commit to hydrogen so that together we can meet our shared climate ambitions and give further traction to the emerging Hydrogen ecosystem."

Hydrogen has struggled to gain traction as an alternative automobile fuel in the US market. Sparse infrastructure is perhaps the biggest hurdle, with just 25 refueling stations currently open in California and far fewer in the rest of the US.

Toyota Mirai sales barely inched past 1,000 units last year, despite a deeply discounted lease for just $349 per month. Honda is following a similar pricing strategy with the forthcoming Clarity Fuel Cell sedan, which will be available for just $369 per month. Both vehicles are believed to cost more than $50,000 to build.

The Hydrogen Council will undoubtedly focus on government subsidization to help invigorate infrastructure expansion. Such pleas will likely be heard alongside a competing push for electric vehicles, which already benefit from an extensive recharging network and significantly cheaper construction costs for new charging stations.

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