Several Japanese automakers have announced a joint project to install charging stations across their home country.
Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi will work with each other and existing charging companies to drastically increase the number of regular and quick chargers across Japan, paving the way for higher electric vehicle adoption.
The existing network of 1,700 fast chargers and just over 3,000 regular charging points will grow significantly, with plans for more than 4,000 fast chargers and over 8,000 regular stations.
These are likely to be spread among commercial facilities such as malls and restaurants, as well as highway service areas, parking areas, convenience stores and gas stations.
Other priorities drawn up in the agreement include bearing some of the cost involved with public charging stations and collaborating with existing networks to make charging points easier for any EV owner to use.
The latter may involve a universal card-based system allowing plug-in vehicle owners to use any of the thousands of charging points with the same card and regardless of their vehicle. Take note, rest-of-the-world...
In addition to paying for charging points and allowing all plug-in users to use them with minimal fuss, the automakers will also work with local governments and government agencies on ways to maximize electric vehicle use--with the eventual aim of electric cars making up 15-20 percent of new car sales by 2020.
In 2012, just under 3,400,000 new cars were sold in Japan (Source: BBC)--so the automakers and government are looking at 2020 plug-in car sales of over half a million.
The Japanese government itself has announced subsidies of 100.5 billion Yen ($15.3 million) for charging station installation in 2013, with each Japanese prefecture drawing up its own plans on how best to use these subsidies. Automakers will work together with local governments to ensure these stations are best sited for customers.