A catch-up on where Japanese carmakers stand in the global race toward electrification, as the government aims for net-zero carbon emissions for the country by 2050:
- Japan is lagging other countries when it comes to the number of electric vehicles on the road as the government strives to phase out gasoline-only vehicles, Jiji reports. EVs are still impractical for consumers for various reasons, including a lack of charging stations, high prices and some functional challenges.
- The drive to electrify is shaking the foundations of the pyramid-shaped auto industry, made up of big automakers at the top and lower layers of parts suppliers and subcontractors. The shift away from gas-only vehicles will render about half of auto parts redundant, forcing manufacturers to consider realigning with other companies for survival or closing down.
- “Kei cars” — known for their low prices and small engines — face a potentially existential threat as Japan leans on automakers to go electric. Kei cars make up a third of new domestic auto sales, but electrification could double the price of these cars, which are particularly vital in rural areas, where public transport is scarce and roads are narrow.
- Nissan vowed last month that all of its new vehicles in its key markets — Japan, China, the U.S. and Europe — will be partly or fully electrified by the early 2030s. The firm plans to release a new model every year in China until 2025 as it overhauls its strategy in the world’s No. 1 auto market, accelerating the rollout of EVs under its main brand and its local, no-frills Venucia marque, Reuters reports.
- Toyota plans to launch two new battery-powered vehicles in the U.S. this year, reversing course from its earlier tentative position on electric vehicles. At the same time, Toyota and its group firms are stepping up efforts to develop parts for hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles and expand their market after releasing the second-generation Mirai sedan in Japan last month.