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Japanese EV market gains steam in 2013: interview with EV JAPAN organiser

04 February 2013

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In an exclusive interview with, the organiser of EV JAPAN 2013, Show Director Masaki Soda from Reed Exhibitions Japan, talks about the history of the Automotive World exhibition, latest developments in the domestic EV market, promising new technologies, and future plans for the biggest EV industry event in Asia. Given new developments such the rapid growth of charging infrastructure, new EV models, and several EV trials in the commercial sector, how do you see the Japanese EV market evolving in 2013?

Masaki Soda:
I see the future progress of the Japanese market as very promising, since the government, research institutes and other players are working together with automotive manufacturers to popularize electric vehicles.

I think the market will gain stream in 2013, fuelled by the launch of new EV models by several companies. As the Show Director of EV JAPAN, I see many exhibitors who are working on the development of innovative motors and batteries. I expect those new developments to further extend the maximum range of EVs. From your experience, what do you see are the key differences between the EV markets in Japan, China, Europe and North America?

In anticipation of an aging society, I think smaller EVs for short distance transportation may gain popularity in the market. That is why the government is working on popularizing compact EVs. Japanese automotive manufacturers have taken the lead in the development of HEV and EV and I think they will continue to play a leading role in R&D of EV/HEV, in cooperation with other major manufacturers worldwide. EV JAPAN is a highly anticipated annual event for EV and HEV technologies. Can you briefly tell us about the history of the event and its growth to today's impresive scale?

EV JAPAN is derived from its concurrent show, “CAR-ELE JAPAN”, which is now Asia’s largest exhibition for automotive electronics technologies. When we launched the first CAR-ELE JAPAN in January 2009, we received great demands from the automotive industry for motor/invertor technologies for electric vehicles. That is why we announced the launch of EV JAPAN shortly after the first CAR-ELE JAPAN concluded.

I think EV JAPAN is chosen by more and more exhibitors because it has established itself as a platform for professionals and engineers to conduct technical consultation and business meetings, where new innovations and business opportunities are generated. We have undertaken every effort to gather key persons with purchasing authority and promote meetings with exhibitors: for example, we also invite executives from major automotive manufacturers in Korea, China and Taiwan, offering special privileges. We feel that, now in its fifth year, EV JAPAN has established a reputation as an exhibition that leads to actual business. What are the "hot topics" of the show? e.g. wireless charging, new battery technologies, urban mobility?

A session about “Wireless EV Charging” was added to the Technical Conference this year, in which three different technologies were presented by a major proponent of each technology. With international standardization proceeding rapidly, the session attracted a wide audience keen to find out which technology will be adopted and how it will change the industry.

The exhibition, “Cloud Robot Car”, by Microsoft/ZMP, attracted wide attention at Electric Vehicle Exhibit Area inside EV JAPAN. It connected the Prius PHV with iPad, enabling users to operate and drive the car by remote control. Though it is not specifically for EVs, it showed that a major trend for next-generation vehicles will be their close links to IT. What are your plans for next year? Can you tell us how EV JAPAN will evolve with the growing worldwide market for electrically powered vehicles?

We will continue to make EV JAPAN a platform that can provide solutions to the many technical challenges that industry will undoubtedly face in the course of the popularization of electric vehicles, and generate new innovations. One of the ways to achieve this is to extend the range of the exhibition, so that it can cover more of the various challenges faced by automotive engineers. We have numerous options in mind, such as Connected Vehicles, Fuel Cells, Next-generation Engines, Charging, etc. Thank you! We look forward to reporting from EV JAPAN 2014!


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