JAPAN: VW plans EV sales start mid-2013

By Graeme Roberts | 31 May 2012

Volkswagen hopes to export its first electric vehicles to Japan as early as the middle of next year.

According to the Nikkei, the automaker had already announced plans to introduce the two EVs - the E-Up and the Golf EV - in Europe in mid-2013. During a news conference in Tokyo, Rudolf Krebs, the VW group's chief officer for electric traction, revealed the company is gearing up to also launch the EVs in Japan shortly after they are rolled out in Europe. Both will be modified to make them compatible with Japan's battery-charging system for EVs.

VW previously said it would release over 10 EV and plug-in hybrid models around the world by 2015 and aims to sell a combined 300,000 units of the models a year by 2018 to account for 3% of the group's new car sales. It is considering bringing a plug-in hybrid to Japan in 2014 or later.

VW earlier this month unveiled an EV battery-charging technology called the Combined Charging System, with General Motors and six other German and US automakers but its two Japanese model EVs will support the Japanese CHAdeMo system Japanese want as a global standard. He acknowledged the need to offer different models or alter specifications in different markets to meet various local standards.

So far, Japan remains the top market for hybrid and electric passenger vehicles with Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors vying for the top share.