Japanese Automakers Ally On Charging Network
With the Tesla Supercharger network helping spur Model S sales, other automakers are looking at charging networks of their own. Toyota, Honda, Mitsubishi, and Nissan have formed an alliance to bring a national EV charging network to Japan and called it the Nippon Charging Network.
With a single access card that will offer drivers of all four brands a convenient way of recharging their EVs, it could be the unifying measure that makes electric cars more mainstream in their home country. All four of these Japanese automakers have invested heavily into EVs, and even though Honda and Toyota are more keen on hydrogen fuel cell vehicles, it pays to diversify a portfolio, after all.
Initially, automakers like Nissan adopted a “If we build it, so will they” attitude towards charging stations, with a number of public and private options stepping up with their own take on providing public charging. Some required memberships, others not, and services were scattered with no rhyme or reason. EV owners stepped up with apps
Now Japanese automakers are taking a more proactive role by establishing networks of their own, something Tesla rightly identified in the beginning as key to getting the public behind the wheel of EVs.
Alas, such a thing is unlikely to happen between America’s big three automakers. The Ford Focus Electric has been barely mentioned at all this year, despite the debut of a new look for the 2015 Focus. The Chevy Volt is still more gas than electric, and with the rang extender providing more than 300 miles of range, an established charging network is probably of less concern to GM customers. As for Chrysler-Fiat? They are reportedly losing $14,000 on every Fiat 500E that they build, and their interest in electric cars only extends as far as meeting their legal obligations.
In other words, don’t hold your breathe for a national charging network here in the U.S.
Source: Green Car Reports