Japanese OEMs make push for charging infrastructure

June 02, 2014 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Carmakers Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi have launched a joint venture dedicated to advance the roll-out of the-car charging infrastructure in Japan. The new company, Nippon Charge Service (NCS) will operate the charging stations for battery electric and hybrid electric vehicles.

In Japan's energy politics, vehicles with zero local emission play an important role. The four Japanese OEMs therefore promote electromobility together. In November 2013, an incentive program has been introduced to establish a nationwide network of charging stations with government subsidies. Operators of charging stations at publicly accessible places such as shopping centres or hotels are eligible to receive a grant. The same holds true for charging stations along trunk roads, for example at service areas, toll stations, parking areas or other places of interest.

In the future, the new joint venture will operate these charging stations and ensures interoperability across vehicle brands. Third party operators can also join the network, thus make their stations accessible to the masses. Car users get an access card that enables them to charge their vehicles at all stations that belong to the network. NCS coordinates and processes the payment. Operation will start as early as this year, the company said.

In Europe, a similar joint venture is in place: Hubject GmbH, Berlin, is also dedicated to processing payment data and enable interactivity across car brands and energy providers. The company currently is active in Germany, Austria, the Benelux countries and Finland. According to hubject, currently some 1800 charging stations are associated to the network.

Related articles:

Micro smart grid plugs renewables into EV fleets

Why Japan leads in electromobility - and why this could change soon

What EV charging technologies to watch for in 2014