EV, Smart Grid Synonym in Japan

When I gave a seminar on smart grid in Tokyo recently, I had a chance to exchange smart grid information with attendees. I will elaborate on that later, but I also found a very informative book on smart grid in Japan, "An Introduction to Smart Grid," by Edward Fukui. It has good coverage of smart grid in the U.S. as well as of what is happening in this space in Japan.

As I’ve reported a few times before, two elements stand out in the Japanese smart grid. They are electric vehicles (EVs) and solar panels on houses. Fukui’s book has good coverage of Japanese car manufacturers’ efforts in EV and hybrid cars. Here’s a short summary:

EV – Nissan, Mitsubishi, Fuji Heavy Industries (Subaru brand), and Honda
Hybrid/EV – Toyota
Economical gas – Mazda (under Ford’s umbrella)

Toyota’s commanding lead in the hybrid car market has made others move into the EV sector. Nissan, Mitsubishi, Fuji Heavy Industries, and Honda have their own EV cars. Mitsubishi has an EV car called iMiVe. Here’s video about it (Japanese only). It can take you up to 100 miles on a full charge. And it takes about 30 minutes to charge to 80% capacity with rapid charging. It takes 14 hours to recharge with 100 V (Japan’s standard voltage) and 7 hours with 200 V.

Fuji Heavy Industries has an EV named Plug-in Stella. It takes 15 minutes to charge to 80% of capacity with rapid charging. With 100 V, it takes 8 hours to fully charge the battery. Here is a video about it (Japanese only).

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Electrical Efficiency Measurement for Data Centers
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To make EVs a reality, we need a charging infrastructure. There is some movement in this field:

  • Nippon Oil, along with NEC and Japan Unisys, had a pilot project to test rapid charging stations in October 2009.
  • NTT Data will start an experimental charging infrastructure in January 2010.
  • Nissan, Mitsubishi Automobile, Fuji Heavy Industries, and TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) have formed the Rapid-Charging Infrastructure Promotion Council.
  • Nissan is conducting research on nontouchable charging, which allows an EV to be charged without touching the battery. Nissan’s vision is to mount solar panels on a sound-shielding wall that charges EVs as they drive past.

Fukui’s book has other interesting topics for the Japanese smart grid, and I will report on them in the future.

Zen Kishimoto

About Zen Kishimoto

Seasoned research and technology executive with various functional expertise, including roles in analyst, writer, CTO, VP Engineering, general management, sales, and marketing in diverse high-tech and cleantech industry segments, including software, mobile embedded systems, Web technologies, and networking. Current focus and expertise are in the area of the IT application to energy, such as smart grid, green IT, building/data center energy efficiency, and cloud computing.

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