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Japan’s EV Infrastructure Is Massive, Electric Car Sales Not So Much



There are more than 27,000 public charging spots available, but sales of all-electric cars is not as high as we would expect.

Japan installed around 7,250 CHAdeMO DC fast chargers (40% of all in the world) as well as more than 20,000 AC Level 2 charging stations. It’s a lot compared to about 120,000 all-electric cars sold in the past 10 years.
I wonder if this will help to put the "if we had more charging infrastructure" meme to rest........ probably not. :(
 

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It's worth noting that over 100,000 Nissan Leafs have been sold in Japan so far.
In 2017 there were 26.7 Prius Primes sold in Japan
The Japanese new vehicle market is 1/3 the size of the market in the USA.

So those top sellers have better market share in Japan than they do here.
Given the nationalistic purchasing habits, the limited options from the domestics, and mandates and incentives that aren't particularly strong for plug-ins over hybrids, I don't think that Japan's doing too badly.
 

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This sounds like a case of the Japanese Government's Left Hand/Right Hand problem. The Left Hand is pushing hydrogen fuel cells, which is what Toyota, Honda, and the other Japanese car companies have been pushing as well. The Right Hand is building a electric car infrastructure.
 
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If there are so many charging stations and not enough EVs, maybe GM should open an assembly plant to build and sell the Chevy Bolt EV there. It may cost more than the Nissan Leaf but offer much better features and a higher range. If GM can build Bolts without steering wheels or pedals as AVS, then a right hand driver position for this market is just a new engineering and manufacturing job.
 

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I think this supports the concept that charging stations, charge times, range, etc. are not the issues. The issue is humans, and how we think about cars and "filling up". If they got rid of 3/4 of the gas stations, EVs sales would probably skyrocket because we'd be forced to change our habits. Otherwise this is a very slow process.
 

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I think this supports the concept that charging stations, charge times, range, etc. are not the issues. The issue is humans, and how we think about cars and "filling up". If they got rid of 3/4 of the gas stations, EVs sales would probably skyrocket because we'd be forced to change our habits. Otherwise this is a very slow process.
For the masses, it really is about "Charge Times". For local driving, no big deal. But America is HUGE. We are driving to Disney World and then driving to the beach. This can be done with quick refueling times of less than five minutes every 400 miles. Our total trip will be around 2500 miles. This would take an enormous amount of time in electric vehicle because of the long charging times. It really is more about charging times (and sometimes costs) than anything else at this point.
 

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For the masses, it really is about "Charge Times". For local driving, no big deal. But America is HUGE. We are driving to Disney World and then driving to the beach. This can be done with quick refueling times of less than five minutes every 400 miles. Our total trip will be around 2500 miles. This would take an enormous amount of time in electric vehicle because of the long charging times. It really is more about charging times (and sometimes costs) than anything else at this point.
But you only go to Disney World once a year. And driving more than 400 miles/day for most families is untenable. At a minimum, after 200 miles you have to make a 5 minute bathroom stop. After 400 miles you need to make a half hour food stop.
 

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But you only go to Disney World once a year. And driving more than 400 miles/day for most families is untenable. At a minimum, after 200 miles you have to make a 5 minute bathroom stop. After 400 miles you need to make a half hour food stop.
I still believe you are thinking about this too narrowly. If electric cars could be charged as quickly as refueling gasoline car...

Try any long trip in an electric and you will have dramatically longer times. Range anxiety will become very real. Detours will become a nightmare. Overnight stays could become a reality from many things. Even a Bolt with a 200 mile range is only good for about 100 miles one way before you have to make a decision.

And it doesn't have to be a long trip either...just being practical here.
 

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Maybe they could come up with a car that uses electricity when you want to and gas when you need to!
 

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I still believe you are thinking about this too narrowly. If electric cars could be charged as quickly as refueling gasoline car...

Try any long trip in an electric and you will have dramatically longer times. Range anxiety will become very real. Detours will become a nightmare. Overnight stays could become a reality from many things. Even a Bolt with a 200 mile range is only good for about 100 miles one way before you have to make a decision.

And it doesn't have to be a long trip either...just being practical here.
I still think this is mostly perception. I've had range anxiety on more than one occasion with an ICE car. There are plenty of people who run out of gas on a regular basis.
 

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I still think this is mostly perception. I've had range anxiety on more than one occasion with an ICE car. There are plenty of people who run out of gas on a regular basis.
True, but there are gas stations practically every where, and the refill times are super quick (not so with electrics). You can push the limits of an ICE car knowing you can find a gas station and refill quickly, not so with an electric. This is why I think cars like the Volt are the best bridge for current technology.
 

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True, but there are gas stations practically every where, and the refill times are super quick (not so with electrics). You can push the limits of an ICE car knowing you can find a gas station and refill quickly, not so with an electric. This is why I think cars like the Volt are the best bridge for current technology.
Timing definitely remains an issue. But that's part of the mindset change that is necessary here. EVs will not be driven with the exact same mindset as ICEs. That's the long range habit change we need to experience. Even if we replaced every ICE car with an EV, and every gas station with a charging station, we still would not be satisfied with our current driving and fill up habits. We need a shift, and that take time.
 

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Yes, having recharging facilities takes away one of the concerns that people have, but it's not the only concern.

It's hard to break a habit, and gasoline cars are a habit. EV's are new, scary, I don't understand how they work. They confuse me, seem risky.

When people are confused or in doubt, they go with what they know. Especially when it's something expensive like a car. As long as gasoline prices remain stable, there isn't enough that's irritating to get people to break the habit. Plus, the purchase cycle is as long as every 7-15 years.
 

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In addition to the range and recharge time issues, I think a really basic reason most people do not consider buying electric is they do not believe in the technology. They think the battery will crap out in a couple of years like other consumer rechargeable battery powered products they have owned like cell phones, razors, cameras, tools, etc. They also think the cars are slow and under powered. These are the kinds of questions I often get about my car. Some other mis-perceptions are that the money saved on gasoline is more than offset by high electricity bills, and that tailpipe emissions are completely relocated to a dirty coal plant. It is also pretty easy to look around and see that almost everyone else (~99%) is still buying ICE cars, and they can't all be wrong.
 

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Love my 2013 Volt, but will be looking for a deal on a used Bolt in the next year or 2. I'm ready to cut the cord (sorry, meant fuel hose :eek:)!! When I need to drive the long distances of a trip, I'll rent - same as I do now (I like to put the wear and tear of a 2,500 mile, 1 week trip on the rental, not my personal car). Otherwise, the Bolt's range is fine for 99% of the driving I do and I will never need to charge anyplace but home. Don't need EV infrastructure. One note though - I am retired, so my driving habits are different than when I was working.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Maybe they could come up with a car that uses electricity when you want to and gas when you need to!
I challenge EREV being called a 'gateway' platform to BEV. I think some are going to eventually find that it's the other way around, when they finally get over being purists. Well, those who can anyway.

What was that about people not wanting to change their perceptions? Back at you BEV purist!

I don't need no stinking charging infrastructure. There are plenty of gas stations on the rare time I need more range. I'm not feeling your anxiety over this subject at all, sorry.
 

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In addition to the range and recharge time issues, I think a really basic reason most people do not consider buying electric is they do not believe in the technology. They think the battery will crap out in a couple of years like other consumer rechargeable battery powered products they have owned like cell phones, razors, cameras, tools, etc.
I do agree with this for sure, a few years ago when I was buying my first car, off-handedly my dad highly encouraged me against getting any sort of hybrid car - primarily because his (A honda civic I think?) battery crapped out on him a few years prior and a replacement set him back a good couple thousand. More recently, after I got my (used) Volt, he was slightly surprised I would opt for something with a battery.
Heck, my second/previous car (a '10 Prius) I had more issues with the engine as opposed to the battery/electrical systems.
 

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It's worth noting that over 100,000 Nissan Leafs have been sold in Japan so far.
In 2017 there were 26.7 Prius Primes sold in Japan
The Japanese new vehicle market is 1/3 the size of the market in the USA.

So those top sellers have better market share in Japan than they do here.
Given the nationalistic purchasing habits, the limited options from the domestics, and mandates and incentives that aren't particularly strong for plug-ins over hybrids, I don't think that Japan's doing too badly.
How do you sell 0.7 of a car?
 

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Yes, having recharging facilities takes away one of the concerns that people have, but it's not the only concern.

It's hard to break a habit, and gasoline cars are a habit. EV's are new, scary, I don't understand how they work. They confuse me, seem risky.

When people are confused or in doubt, they go with what they know. Especially when it's something expensive like a car. As long as gasoline prices remain stable, there isn't enough that's irritating to get people to break the habit. Plus, the purchase cycle is as long as every 7-15 years.
I think this is a lot of it, but range is also part of it too.

I still believe you are thinking about this too narrowly. If electric cars could be charged as quickly as refueling gasoline car...

Try any long trip in an electric and you will have dramatically longer times. Range anxiety will become very real. Detours will become a nightmare. Overnight stays could become a reality from many things. Even a Bolt with a 200 mile range is only good for about 100 miles one way before you have to make a decision.

And it doesn't have to be a long trip either...just being practical here.
My thought is that there are plenty of gas-engined vehicles used for day to day driving that one would not take on a long family trip because they're not big enough for the whole family plus all of their luggage. A simple solution is one that families have already come up with: Buy one vehicle that's intended to be the hauler of people/crap and another smaller one that's for just getting around town. An EV can fit into that 2nd role nicely.

But to me there is still value in adding charging infrastructure. Refueling an electric vehicle will never be quite the same as an ICE vehicle but I think it can get close enough. You may not "fill up" at an EV station so much as add enough charge to get you to your evening destination. Then you have time for a full charge.

You might see a whole lot more infrastructure added at hotels rather than at service station type places. There's already been a transition when you think about it. The gas stations of my youth almost always serviced vehicles too. Most places I get gas at today don't. They sell snacks.
 
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