Japan’s four EV makers have joined forces to build a single public charging network with a universal access card that will allow drivers to charge anywhere in Japan. The system is scheduled to be up and running by the end of the year.
Supported by Honda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, and Toyota, Nippon Charge Service aims to promote “broader acceptance of electric vehicles by building a user-friendly infrastructure that will help society maximize the possibilities of electric vehicles.”
The four automakers announced in November that they would offer financial assistance to enterprises that install public charging stations. Combined with subsidies from the Japanese government, the automakers’ incentives cover the full cost of installation. Users of that program will be asked to participate in the new network.
The new company will focus on sites “recognized to have high public value” under plans drawn up by local authorities, and is already installing charging stations at hotels, highway rest stops, convenience stores, and commercial sites.
Such a system would surely come in handy here in the US, where the 10,000-plus charging locations are scattered among at least seven different networks. However, as Green Car Reports noted, it would require American and German carmakers to play ball with the Japanese and Koreans, something that they have so far shown little inclination to do (see the CHAdeMO vs SAE Combo standards war).
Nissan is trying to take a step in that direction with its EZ-Charge Card, but one of the four planned charging partners, ChargePoint, pulled out of the program at the last minute, spoiling the official launch event (and a Charged cover story).