Nano-Optonics to crank out electric cars in Tottori

Bloomberg

Nano-Optonics Energy Inc. will start producing electric vehicles next year in Tottori, becoming the first nonautomotive company to make the vehicles in Japan, Tottori Gov. Shinji Hirai said.

The closely held company, which specializes in environmental technology, will buy a factory site owned by Japan Tobacco Inc. as early as next March in Yonago, near the Japan Sea coast, Hirai said Tuesday.

The price for the 74,000-sq.-meter site hasn’t been disclosed, Tottori spokesman Seiji Oe said Wednesday. Nano-Optonics will hold a news conference about its production plans Monday, he said.

Nano-Optonics, set up by researchers from Kyoto University, would be the first company to produce electric vehicles in Japan other than carmakers Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.

The company also has a stake in SIM-Drive Corp., a venture with trading house Marubeni Corp. and others to sell technology needed to build electric cars.

SIM-Drive technology, developed by Keio University professor Hiroshi Shimizu, integrates an in-wheel motor, platform and suspension and may be used to produce 100,000 battery-electric cars with a partner by 2013, the company said in August.