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Electric vehicles in Japan - statistics & facts

As Japan has vowed to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, electric vehicles have become more of a necessity for the country to meet these targets. Japan is a leading emitter of GHG and automobiles account for roughly 16 percent. However, reduction targets are tricky for Japan's economy since the automotive industry is a vital branch. Its representatives get involved in policy planning conferences that advise the Government, which recently announced that all new passenger cars sold domestically should be electrified by 2035, creating expectations for the growth of electric vehicles in Japan.

Not all electric vehicles are all-electric vehicles

By 'electric vehicles', the Government referred to electrified vehicles. These include hybrid electric vehicles (HEV), plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEV), battery electric vehicles (BEV), and fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEV). Since HEV primarily rely on their internal combustion engines, some do not consider them electric vehicles despite their enhanced fuel efficiency.
HEV represent the great majority of electrified cars in Japan and are considered by many for their next car purchase. Their overwhelming appeal is affordable prices, naturally low fuel expenses, easy maintenance, and an environmental-friendly image. The issue with the other three electrics is not only their price or lack of infrastructure. Backed by subsidies, both have improved, but it is also the share of carbon-based fuels in Japan's energy supply. Still, life-cycle assessments of PHEV, FCEV, and especially BEV showed lower GHG emissions than other comparable vehicles, regardless of the electricity mix.

It takes more than a new generation of vehicles

The Japanese automotive industry is pursuing a multi-directional approach to emission reduction. It implies the usage of all available technologies, optimizing them with composite solutions. Therefore, 'next-generation vehicles', how Japan markets its low-emission vehicles, signify the whole range of electrified vehicles, including diesel vehicles with exhaust filters. Although the fate of clean diesel vehicles in Japan has become uncertain, they exemplify risk spreading by keeping multiple options open and placing hopes on advancements in propulsion systems as much as in fuel technologies. New carbon-neutral fuels are not quite yet technologically mature, however, they promise to be soon. The industry imagines combining them with their efficient vehicle types – new or in use – in the future. Conceivably, Japanese manufacturers will forge further joint ventures, like that of Toyota and Subaru or Nissan and Mitsubishi, as maintaining a diversified vehicle portfolio will be a challenge.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 29 most important statistics relating to "Electric vehicles in Japan".


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