Nissan: more electric charging points than gas stations in Japan

For all you green car sceptics out there, take note. According to research from Nissan, there are now more electric charging points out there than there are gas stations; well, at least if you live in Japan. Automologist, MAC, examines Nissan’s claim. 

The slightly surprising claim comes from Nissan Motor Co., the current second largest carmaker in Japan, which reported that the number of power points in Japan – including home chargers and fast-chargers – has now surpassed the 40,000 mark, eclipsing the nation’s 34,000 gas stations.

The announcement is significant for Nissan as the automaker has bet its shirt on EV’s being the future of personal transportation. Not everyone agrees with Nissan, including the public who are simply not buying the Leaf in the sort of numbers that Nissan expected. To make matters worse, Nissan now find itself going head to head with Toyota’s new Hydrogen Fuel Cell offering, which Toyota claims to be inundated with orders for despite the lack of a Hydrogen distribution network as of yet.

So the announcement matters to Nissan as their battery-powered Leaf can travel but 135 kilometers on a single charge and it is believed that the thought of running out of juice away from home, or range anxiety as we have previously described it, is a key factor that is stopping sales. Most industry players believe that as the charging network expands and batteries become more powerful, the anxiety will wane. Read also: Toyota thinks it’s time to rethink the lithium battery. The research was undertaken by Nissan, so old sceptic’s like myself will happily tell you that most of the charging stations are still in private homes; and of course each gas station has multiple fueling points, thus can serve many more vehicles in a day. And then there is of course the time it takes to refill/recharge, measured in minutes for petrol/diesel-powered vehicles but in hours for electric-powered ones. But don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story, eh?

Around the world there are a number of car manufacturers getting into the re-charging game. Tesla, BMW and VW have all joined ChargePoint Inc. and are planning two ‘corridors’ of charging points between Portland to San Diego in the West and Boston to Washington in the East. Others are joining the fray as well. Great Plains Energy Inc. has joined the rush and is committed to building 1000 charging stations in the Missouri area by the middle of this year; the best news from this company is that the stations will be free to use for the first two years. This will give them about a 10% market share in the provision of charging points in the US.

So far, though, in the entire US of A, there are but 9000 public charging stations and it is just this lack of charging stations that the likes of Elon Musk of Tesla has been bemoaning. It is of course hard to talk about Electric Vehicles without the mention of our old friend from Tesla Motor Corp, who has pinpointed the poor performance of his fledgling car company to the lack of public charging points, particularly in China where the range anxiety angle is set to be holding them back. Read also: Tesla loses money and may lose the market to GM.

With the recent news coming from Japan’s Nissan, we could possibly surmise that Elon Musk chose the wrong market to go charging into…..pun intended.


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