Toyota and the East Japan Railway Company (JR East) have signed a basic agreement for a ‘comprehensive business partnership centred on a hydrogen-based mobility partnership between railways and automobiles’.

Toyota says the partnership is aimed at realising ‘sustainable, low-carbon societies in the face of global warming and energy diversification’.

The agreement, Toyota says, is rooted in Toyota and JR East’s desire to link railways and automobiles (two key means of land transport), fuse management resources, and accelerate the shift toward a low-carbon society by promoting initiatives that make use of hydrogen.

Toyota has developed fuel cell vehicles (FCEVs) and fuel cell buses (FC Buses) that feature Toyota-developed fuel cell (FC) technologies, and has experience in supporting the establishment of a network of hydrogen supply infrastructure, including hydrogen stations. JR East possesses technologies, know-how, and management resources related both to the railway business and to the development of stations and station surroundings.

The two companies are looking to combine their respective strengths, and are presently engaged in detailed discussions centred on a wide range of fields surrounding hydrogen use. These include: establishing hydrogen stations on land owned by JR East, introducing FCEVs and FC Buses as a means of local transport, and applying FC technologies in railway carriages.

Toyota and JR East are also keen to ensure any tie-up between the two companies will lead to initiatives that are fully integrated into local communities. To this end, the two companies intend to request the cooperation of local governments, businesses, residents, and other stakeholders. In this way, they aim to ‘construct a hydrogen supply chain that contributes to both regional growth and development’.