Utility reported to have developed fast charging technology capable of delivering 40Km of motoring on a five-minute charge
BusinessGreen.com Staff, BusinessGreen, 12 Aug 2008
Tokyo looks set to become the latest global city to install a public recharging network for electric vehicles, although there are conflicting reports as to the scale of the network and when it could be rolled out.
According to reports late last week in the Nikkei business paper, utility giant Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) is planning to roll out up to 200 recharging stations across the city next year.
The paper claimed that it has secured support from car dealers selling Mitsubishi Motors and Subaru cars, as well as supermarket Aeon to host the recharging technology. It added that Tepco then planned to expand the network to about 1,000 stations over the next three years, installing recharging sites in locations such as car parks and post offices.
However, speaking to Reuters, a spokesman for the company insisted the plans were not as advanced as Nikkei suggested and that there are no existing plans to roll out a full charging network.
"While it is not wrong that Tepco has completed demonstration tests for devices that charge batteries, we do not at this time have plans to take the initiative in setting up charging locations within the city," he said.
He added that the car recharging device the company had developed was capable of powering an electric car over 40Km after just a five-minute charge and 60Km after a 10-minute charge.
Tokyo is the latest in a number of cities to consider implementing a public recharging network as demand for electric vehicles soars.
London mayor Boris Johnson recently announced plans to treble the number of recharging sites across the capital to 140, while Paris is also planning a network to support its proposed electric car hire scheme. Japanese car manufacturer Nissan also recently inked a partnership with the state government of Tennessee to jointly investigate the development of a recharging network.
However, perhaps the most ambitious of these schemes is the proposals set out by electric car start-up Project Better Place and the Renault-Nissan Alliance for a full-blown nationwide recharging network to be built in Israel and Denmark. Unlike conventional recharging networks, the system would feature hundreds of "battery swap" stations where empty batteries would be removed from the car and replaced by fully charged versions in the same time it takes to fill a car with a tank of petrol. The empty battery would then be recharged ready for a future customer.