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March 15, 2010

JAPAN: Automakers stress need for EU standards on EV charging

Mitsubishi Motors is stressing the need for Europe-wide standards on electric vehicle charging, with other Japanese companies highlighting utility cooperation.

Mitsubishi Motors is stressing the need for Europe-wide standards on electric vehicle charging, with other Japanese companies highlighting utility cooperation.

The need for harmonising the continent’s approach to EV charging comes as several Japanese vehicle manufacturers announced the creation of the CHAdeMO association in tandem with a large Tokyo utility to establish common quick charger installations worldwide.

“If you don’t have standards, you won’t have proper development – it is in the interest of all parties,” a Mitsubishi Motors Europe spokesman in the Netherlands told just-auto. “The Japanese are very much advanced – they started work years ago.”

Mitsubishi has joined with several Japanese competitors including Toyota and Nissan in CHAdeMO, with the association crucially enlisting the participation of the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

“It is not just car manufacturers, it is the Tokyo Electric Power Company as well, which is the third utility worldwide in the area of electric power [after] EDF in France and AON in Germany,” said a Nissan Europe spokesman, stressing the need for an EU umbrella role in Europe.

“We need to have the parties around the table such as car manufacturers, governments and utilities – obviously the EU has a role.”  The Japanese government has earmarked JPY12.4bn ($13.7m) in the budget for fiscal 2010 starting in April to develop a recharging grid.

For its part, Toyota Motor Europe (TME) is cooperating with utilities across the continent in a bid to secure a common approach to EV charging.

“One of our key points is to start a plug-in hybrid programme based on hybrid technology,” a TME spokesman said. “We see quite a lot of governments in Europe [developing] charging.

“In terms of plug-in hybrid technology, that is something we are pursuing on our own, but we partner with EDF in France and the UK and other comparable companies in Europe.”

TME is also collaborating with most German automakers in a ‘clean energy partnership’ for hydrogen fuel cell development and will bring some test models to Europe for evaluation this year.

“It is a general project and we understand the necessity to discuss with other carmakers to develop fuel cell vehicles,” added the TME spokesman.

At the Geneva motor show this month, Opel/Vauxhall also called for Europe-wide standardisation of electric vehicle charging.

The CHAdeMO founders say they expect some 158 business entities and government bodies, including 20 foreign companies, to join the association, such as automakers, electric utilities, charger manufacturers, charging service providers, and other supporting groups.

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