I’ve been an ardent fan of the Tokyo Motor Show, having been there twice. I much regret that I can’t be there this year. But after reading reports such as the Dec. 1 article “Green is the big thing at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show,” I have doubts about its success this year.
Many manufacturers in Japan, with their focus on electric cars, have mentioned their “vision,” but to date this is nothing but a concept. A few “plug-ins” are on the road, but my question is, for a country facing an electricity-supply dilemma since the Tohoku disasters, what will happen if more nuclear power plants are closed? How will consumers in Japan plug in these vehicles.
My technical knowledge on this subject may be incorrect, but any consumer knows that the vehicles need to charge overnight for the next day’s run, and if they’re taken on the highway, there need to be plug-in-cafes or electricity pumps. Sadly, this infrastructure has yet to be built; thus the EVs are limited to city driving. Who will buy them if the required electricity-supply infrastructure is not there? So, manufacturers’ visions are either biased or blurred.
Some manufacturers may say they will export these cars to other countries, but the underlying questions remain the same. For example, in India we face a worse scenario of power shortages and some really bad highways. Add to that the lack of access to Japanese nuclear power technology (despite a clean nonproliferation record).
When manufacturers use jargon words like “vision,” they must remember that the current market in Japan must be either diesel, petrol or hybrid — nothing else. Concepts are nice for display but are difficult to realize unless there is government resolve to create sufficient electricity and support it with a nationwide infrastructure.
Japanese consumers are probably wise enough to have already read between the lines before this letter was even published.
The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.