We analyse the efforts implemented by the Japanese government and stakeholders, in both the energy and EV markets, to accelerate the development of EV infrastructure and the adoption of electric vehicles in the country.
With market forecasts suggesting that the global EV charging stations market will grow by an average 30.8% to reach $28.2 billion in revenue generation by 2025, we try to understand how programmes currently being deployed in Japan will impact the growth of the EV market both locally and internationally.
According to the Nikkel Asian Review, German and Japanese EV manufacturers and developers of "control half of the global EV market."
Commitments by the Japanese government to reduce its carbon footprint through the use of EVs has resulted in large investments towards the development of EV infrastructure.
To date, Japan is reported to have more EV charging stations than petrol and gas filling stations.
According to The Guardian, Japan has 40,000 EV charging stations and 35,000 filling stations registered whilst the US has 9,000 EV charging stations and 114,500 filling stations.
The increase in the number of EV charging stations in Japan falls under efforts to support the rising number of EVs resulting from the introduction of government subsidies for EV buyers.
In addition, decreases in the cost of EVs in Japan compared to other markets has also paved way for the increase in EV adoption and accelerated development of EV infrastructure.
The increase in usage of EVs in Japan has led to the government increasing the number of stations along highways, to support the use of EVs for long distances as well as seek more advanced EV charging solutions to shorten the duration for fully charging EVs.
This March, the German and Japanese governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly research, develop and pilot ultra-fast charging stations.
The MoU will focus on the development of international standards for the interoperability of EV charging stations with grid networks.
Despite efforts to partner internationally to develop EV charging technologies, Japanese firms announced various programmes to research and develop innovative EV technologies and business models.
Hi-Corp said it is developing, testing and will launch a wireless EV charging technology by 2019.
"The wireless charging system uses magnetic resonance coupling, which effectively supplies electricity even when the power source and the recipient are apart from one another."
The technology will allow wireless EV charging on highways even when an EV is in motion or when parked.
In an interview with the Japan Times, Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan Motor Company, said electric cars will fall short of helping the environment without cleaner energy to charge the vehicles’ batteries."
Commenting on the transition of the energy sector from fossil fuelled power generation to clean energy generation, Ben Van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell, said: “Growth of renewables has been remarkable, but capacity of industry to make money in that segment has been remarkably absent.”
The Japanese climate which has restricted the country to fully improve its clean energy portfolios has led to Japanese companies seeking to take advantage of more attractive climate conditions in neighboring countries.
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Japanese telecom firm SoftBank partnered with Russian, Chinese and South Korean utility firms Korea Electric Power Company, State Grid Corporation of China and PSJC to develop a Global Energy Interconnection (GEI) system.
The GEI system is designed to transmit renewable energy generated in regions able to produce clean energy from wind and sun including China and Africa to areas where clean energy generation is low but demand is high.
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