Japanese sales of hydrogen cars tanked during the last 2 years

Japanese sales of hydrogen cars tanked during the last 2 years

January 29, 2024 0 By Bret Williams

A recent report suggests that during the last couple of years, H2 passenger vehicle sales dropped 83 percent.

The Japanese government wants to have 800,000 fuel cell hydrogen cars driving on the country’s streets by the end of the decade. This means that there will need to be about 8,000 more on the roads than there are today. That said, sales are trending downward, instead of keeping up a healthy growth.

Despite the goal, H2-powered passenger vehicle sales have tanked during the last two years.

During the same span of time that the sale of hydrogen cars has fallen, Japanese drivers have been purchasing battery electric vehicles much more rapidly.

According to recent data released by the Japanese Automobile Dealers Association (JADA), there were 2,464 fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) sold in Japan in 2021. That number dropped by 65 percent in 2022, to reach only 848 FCEV sales. Last year, that number tumbled again, this time to only 422 FCEV sales.

That trend represents an 82.87 percent drop in the sale of hydrogen cars from 2021 to 2023.

Nearly all the H2-powered passenger vehicles that sold in Japan during that span of time were made by Toyota. They were mainly the Mirai, though there were a few Crown FCEV units sold as well, though that vehicle only became available in November 2023, so it didn’t have as much of an opportunity to generate a solid figure.

Hydrogen cars - Image of Honda Clarity Vehicle

Credit: Photo by depositphotos.com

That said, the now discontinued Honda Clarity sold only 14 units in 2021 and 2022, when it was still available. There were 31 sales of “imported” H2-powered vehicles. Those were not named but were most likely mainly (if not entirely) the Hyundai Nexo, from South Korea. This is a safe assumption as it is essentially the only other FCEV available in the global passenger vehicle market.

Battery electric vehicles are taking off

hydrogen news ebookAt the same time that hydrogen cars appear to be losing steam in Japan, battery electric vehicle sales in Japan have been taking off. In 2021, there were 20,008 units sold. That jumped to 31,592 in 2022 and then to 43,991 last year, more than doubling in the same span of time that H2-powered passenger cars faced a downward spiral.

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