Electric Car Quick Charging in Japan: It’s Nissan Versus Everybody Else
A couple of weeks ago, Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi Motors, the Development Bank of Japan, and four power industry firms announced a new partnership to provide membership-based quick-charging services to users of electric vehicles. The idea is to dramatically increase the number of DC Quick Chargers in Japan, from the current tally of 800 quick-charge stations.
What name is missing from the partnership list? Nissan, of course. But Nissan has been releasing its own charging news—announcing in the past few weeks that it will begin selling a lower-cost smaller quick charger (for about US $10,000 in hardware) and has recently made progress with inductive charging systems. The company also plans to give away hundreds of quick chargers in Europe and the United States—as a way to jumpstart the build-out of quick charging and leapfrog other government or trade association projects to install public charging.
The organization formed by the other guys—Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, etc.—believe that their proposed membership-based service will allow owners of quick-charge stations to install chargers more quickly and recoup costs via membership fees. Station owners will be able to register their chargers in a central database and membership fees will pay a portion of the installation and maintenance costs incurred by owners of quick-charge stations.
The partnership is the result of investigations conducted by a working group formed at the request from the CHAdeMO Association to all its members in July 2010. The organization’s press release didn’t mention targets for the number of quick chargers it plans to deploy in Japan. But Nissan, with its lower cost proprietary charger and its aggressive distribution plan, aims to sell 5,000 quick charger units in the next four years.
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