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Business

Japanese autoparts makers shift focus to new breed of cars

Honda's new fuel cell vehicle is expected to hit the market in March.

TOKYO -- Japanese autoparts manufacturers are turning their attention to fuel cell vehicles on expectations that the world will see more of this new type of automobile that runs on electricity generated by a hydrogen-oxygen reaction.

     Keihin, a Honda Motor affiliate that makes engine parts, spent hundreds of millions of yen to install equipment to build parts for fuel cell vehicles at its Miyagi Prefecture plant. Sixteen or 17 types of parts, including those for controlling hydrogen gas and motors, will be produced beginning at the start of 2016 for a Honda fuel cell vehicle slated to be released in March. Keihin plans to pitch its products to U.S. and European automakers as well.

     Fuel tank manufacturer Yachiyo Industry has begun developing hydrogen tanks for fuel cell vehicles. It aims to acquire approvals for test products around 2018 and start mass production two years later.

     Aisan Industry, which makes fuel injection equipment and pumps, has been delivering injectors and other parts related to hydrogen supply for Toyota Motor's Mirai fuel cell vehicle, which debuted at the end of 2014. It hopes to ink deals for other types of parts as well, including oxygen supply and cooling, for Toyota's next fuel cell vehicle.

     Currently, the Mirai is the only mass-produced fuel cell vehicle. Following Honda's entry next year, Nissan Motor and Germany's Daimler plan to debut their own models in 2017. Honda and U.S. automaker General Motors have teamed up to develop next-generation fuel cell systems, aiming to enter commercial production in 2020.

     Tokyo-based Deloitte Tohmatsu Consulting forecasts the Japanese market for fuel cell vehicles will grow to about 400,000 units in 2030.

(Nikkei)

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