Japan has the highest penetration rate of EVs mainly due to major automobile manufacturers’ head start on R&D efforts in as early as the 90s. After years of development, Toyota, Honda, Nissan, and Mitsubishi are all significant players in this market having introduced a number of EVs. As a result, EVs in Japan are relatively and practically affordable and most EVs are running on hybrid engines. In Europe and North America, Japanese hybrid cars account for 50% of the market share. Notably, Toyota’s Prius has become the top seller among all EVs.
To promote and increase penetration rate of EVs, Japanese government also implemented tax incentives such as the green tax benefits in effect on April 4th, 2009, giving tax reduction to consumers who made purchase of pure electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, and vehicles that run on natural gas and diesel. In the mean time, Japanese government also set forth a certification system for standardizing low-emission vehicles to classify different incentive qualifications.
Since 2006, Japan has strived to promote power batteries used for automobiles and established various standards. Kanagawa was selected as a demonstration city to promote the use of EVs in hopes of seeing more than 13.6 million EVs on the streets of Japan by 2020, 26.5 million by 2030 and 35 million, about half of the number of cars, by 2050.
Japanese government uses tax reduction as a means of stimulating purchase willingness and manufacturers introduce relatively more affordable car models in hopes of making the industry shift as smooth and quick as possible. Nissan announced to produce 50,000 pure electric vehicles by 2012 for Japanese and European markets. Mitsubishi expected to commercialize its EVs in 2010.
Mitsubishi’s i MiEV uses lithium batteries that feature quicker charging time, which takes about 30 minutes to charge 80% of capacity using quick charger system, and strong acceleration with highest speed of 130km/hr. The retail price of i MiEV is 2 million Japanese yen.