JAPAN: Automakers join venture to expand EV fast-charge network
Nine Japanese companies - including automakers - have clubbed together to establish a quick charging network for electric vehicles in Japan.
Kanematsu Corporation, Kandenko, Suzuyo Shoji, Chubu Electric Power, Toyota Motor (TMC), the Development Bank of Japan, Honda Motor and Mitsubishi Motors agreed to establish the Charging Network Development Organisation to provide membership-based quick-charging services.
The organization plans to encourage increased and widespread use of EVs by helping to expand the charging infrastructure. By the end of October, around 800 quick chargers have been installed in Japan, a number still viewed as insufficient from a users' standpoint, CNDO said.
"Until now, quick chargers have generally been installed, at the owner's expense, by businesses and private organisations for private use or as part of a government programme.
"The lack of an effective method to recover costs has become a significant obstacle to widespread installation."
Using the new membership service, quick-charger owners can register their chargers with CNDO in a central database. CNDO will then make charger information, such as number and location, available to EV users registered as members. Membership fees will pay a portion of the installation and maintenance costs incurred by quick-charger owners, helping to promote infrastructure development. CNDO hopes to be running in fiscal year 2012.
The concept for the service resulted from investigations conducted by a working group formed at the request of the CHAdeMO Association - a 412-member group established to promote the development of a quick-charger infrastructure - in July 2010.
Last March, CHAdeMO said it would support commercial development of the service to develop a quick-charging infrastructure.
The organization said it would seek the cooperation of a broad range of local governments and businesses for the service while working to increase interest in quick-charger installation, thereby establishing a charging infrastructure sufficient to encourage the greater use of EVs and to increase user convenience.
CNDO is based in Tokyo and has capital of JPY11m. The various partners in the venture hold stakes ranging from 4.5% to 18.2%.