Four makers

Four Japanese automakers – Toyota, Honda, Nissan and Mitsubishi – have announced that they will be working together to increase the number of electric vehicle charging facilities in Japan as well as develop a more unified infrastructure for charging services in the country.

Currently, there are 1,700 quick chargers and just over 3,000 normal chargers in Japan, a number that’s generally recognised as insufficient. The quartet is set to work together to increase the number of normal chargers by 8,000 and quick chargers by 4,000.

Assisted by 100.5 billion yen worth of subsidies announced by the Japanese government for this purpose, the four automakers will bear part of the cost to installation and maintenance of these additional charging facilities.

The four will also address the lack of sufficient coordination among existing charging providers. Previously, each automaker assessed possible locations for charging facilities on their own – they will now work in collaboration with companies that are already providing charging services in which each of the four automakers already have a financial stake.

Collaboration among companies currently providing charging services in which each automaker has already invested (Japan Charge Network Co, Charging Network Development and Toyota Media Service) would lead to the creation of a more convenient charging infrastructure network. One example is enabling the car’s owner to charge his or her car at any charging spot with the same card.

Currently, there are three charging methods for EVs in Japan – basic charging, done at home; destination charging, where a car is charged at locations such as shopping malls, DIY stores or family restaurants for the return trip home; and en-route charging at locations, including expressway roadside service areas, gas stations, and convenience stores.