JAPAN: Nissan launches Leaf locally, mulls national recharging

By Graeme Roberts | 22 December 2010

Your new EVs, sir

Your new EVs, sir

Nissan Motor has delivered its first Leaf EVs in its home prefecture of Kanagawa and is looking, with two partners, at establishing a nationwide recharge network.

The first 10 units went to the prefectural government with six for official use and four for rent through the prefecture's EV Sharing Model Business.

The prefecture has announced measures to quickly encourage use of 3,000 EVs including purchase incentives equivalent to half the amount of the subsidies already provided by the national government. Development of charging infrastructure, including quick chargers and normal charging facilities has been accelerated as well.

The EV Sharing Model Business will see the vehicles used by officials on weekdays and rented out on weekends and holidays so residents can experience EV use. The scheme starts next month, operated by a Nissan rental car affiliate.

Meanwhile, the automaker has signed a memorandum of understanding with trading house Sumitomo Corporation and electronics/computing giant NEC Corporation to promote a new membership-based charging service for EV users that will be available for the first time nationwide in Japan.

The three companies will jointly consider developing charging facilities which can provide continuous service to EV users and maintenance of charging equipment by working with existing utilities. They will also establish a business model for the charging infrastructure that will install standard charging facilities and quick chargers at key locations, including apartment buildings and monthly parking facilities. The scheme may be explanded for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Sumitomo has also launched a new business development and promotion division to, among other things, recycle EV lithium-ion batteries.

NEC will help with membership management computer networks.