Electric car market share in Japan 2009-2018

As of 2018, approximately 1.13 percent of motor vehicles in Japan were electric cars. This number represented a decrease of 0.1 percent compared to the previous year. However, when looking at the market share of EVs in Japan over the past decade, figures for 2017 and 2018 were expanding rapidly. Electric cars accounted for a market share of only 0.03 percent in 2009 and peaked with 0.69 percent in 2014, before declining up until 2017, when electric mobility suddenly surged to an all-time high of 1.23 percent.

What is Japan’s stance on e-mobility?

Japan is one of the leading industrial nations in the world, with auto production being a major pillar of the domestic economy. Yet, when it comes to battery-powered electric vehicles, the country’s largest manufacturers have been left behind by the latest technological shift in the automobile sector.
After focusing primarily on hydrogen fuel cell powered vehicles in the past, Japan has been increasingly branching out in EV technologies. In early 2018, several Japanese vehicle manufacturers joined the newly founded company EV C.A. Spirit Corporation. The venture established by Toyota, Mazda and Denso is seen as an agreement among Japan’s top automotive players to collaborate on affordable electric vehicle technologies to catch up with international rivals’ production of battery-powered cars.
Efforts are likely to pay out, since EV registrations continue to rise in Japan, reaching almost 27 thousand newly registered passenger cars in 2018.
The most commonly known electric car models among Japanese were predominantly manufactured by domestic brands, such as the Nissan Leaf or Toyota’s Prius PHEV.

Is Japan’s future going to be greener?

As of mid-2019, the purchase of an electric vehicle was only considered by a small percentage of Japanese consumers, mainly due to the comparably high price point, but also due to an apparent lack of charging stations within the country. While there were approximately 22 thousand slow chargers publicly available in Japan in 2018, the number of fast chargers reached only about 7,700 stations in the same year.
However, a great share of consumers in Japan would be willing to invest in the purchase of an electric vehicle if the state offered certain incentives. Among those, tax rebates and subsidies were the most appealing motivators.
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Market share of electric vehicles in Japan from 2009 to 2018
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