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EV Japan: members reporting on site

27 January 2012

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Kanako Nagano, PlugSurfing's Japanese Community Manager and community member, attended the EV Japan, taking place in Tokyo from 18-20 January. Her colleague Adam Woolway, UK Community Manager and also community member, summarises the events impressions and shares his thoughts on the differences between Asia and Europe.
EV Japan expo took place in Tokyo from 18-20 January 2012.
The race to be the 'world leader' of electric cars and green mobility is a popular one and a phrase often repeated. Countries, such as the UK, where the one-time prosperous auto-mobile factories have faltered, see EVs as a chance to revive the industry. Countries such as Denmark, committed to green energy, imagine the benefits of a carbon free lifestyle with estimations they could be fossil free by 2050. And governments around the world offer subsidies as a ticket to all of the above.

In the beginning of January 2012, a Frost and Sullivan report highlighted London as the future city likely to lead European EV-infrastructure. But what does this mean in terms of making it a world leader? The view we have, sitting here in our London offices, is of course very Euro-centric and things in Asia are very different. Speaking down a telephone line with a slight time delay and crackle is Kanako Nagano, PlugSurfing's Japanaese Community Manager. She is fresh from attending this year’s EV Trade Show in Tokyo which took place from 18-20 January. With 85,000 people attending over three days, she regards it as a huge success. 'In some ways,' she adds 'it is very similar to our European events, maybe with slightly longer handshakes but just as many networking and business card opportunities'.

And how are the Europeans represented?, I ask her. 'Hardly at all', comes her response. We know about the pioneering Japanese car industry and they are all here, Toyota, Nissan, Mitsubishi, Honda, but this is also a chance for many Chinese companies, such as BYD to show their wares. No one is surprised that Asia is dominating here, but some industry figures cut a more damning picture. 'I had the chance to speak to Chademo and Tepco,' she tells me, 'and they are still both very doubtful about Europe's commitment to green transport'. This is mostly based on the amount of Quick Chargers available on the continent, and the current lack of models available to purchase.

Another difference she pinpoints is the way that electric cars are regarded across the continents. Many schemes in Europe, such as the National Charge Point Register in the UK and Nobil in Norway are preparing EV drivers for longer road trips. There are already stories of people travelling greater distances in EVs and PlugSurfing's route planner can help you get from Hamburg to Paris. Not in Japan, however. 'Here', says Kanako, 'the EV is definitely marketed as a second car. The trade show is full of charging point manufacturers but nearly all of them focusing on home charging. With an eye on improved battery power and the popularity of subsidised third generation hybrid cars, such as the Prius Plus, not everyone sees the benefit of public infrastructure'. No wonder, then, that many drivers were particularly interested in PlugSurfing's feature of sharing private charging points.
Adam Woolway

Many thanks to our community members, Kanako and Adam, for giving us some impressions from the EV Japan! We will follow up with a more technical perspective next week, summarising some of the presentations given at the event.

If you are a community member participating in one of the major EV events around the world and would like to share your experiences and impressions, do let us know!


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