The big Japanese makers will shake hands in a rare feat – they will unite to create a company that would manage the country’s charging stations – providing their funding and payment processes.
With the automotive industry one of the most competitive business sectors, it’s a rare and commendable feat to usher such an alliance – as the four automakers are expected to form the joint venture as early as next month, taking equal shares and eventually ready to expand the partnership to also cover the future infrastructure for fuel cell vehicles.
While Japan had already at the end of March 2,000 quick charging stations and 4,000 standard ones, the four automakers set last July a goal of further setting up 4,000 new quick-charge stations and 8,000 standard.
A quick-charge station usually costs around 5 million yen ($48,000) each and already the government subsidizes up to two-thirds of the installation cost. Now, with the further support from automakers the expenses could drop to zero – encouraging gas stations, convenience stores and other businesses to set up chargers.
Also, while the charging station proprietor sets the price for charges, the automakers approach is to unify the payment method – which for now uses a lot of methods. Their goal is to let any electric car user make a single type of payment anywhere in Japan.