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Electric Vehicles in Asia Pacific
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In Japan, the development of electric vehicles started early in this century. In 1949, there were 3, 300 electric vehicles on Japan's roads and annual production was 1,614 units. From 1971, the government launched electric vehicle promotion with a 5-year large-scale project for electric vehicle research and development, and produced prototype vehicles with a 455 km range per charge. In the 1990s, the development of electric vehicles has reached its next stage, motivated by growing concerns over global warming, deterioration of the urban environment, and the 1992 California mandate for zero emission vehicles.
In 1997, Toyota Motor Corp. launched its originally designed production hybrid passenger car Prius, which changed the stream of electric vehicle’s history. The development and commercialization of hybrid electric vehicles have made remarkable progress as a practical option for replacing internal combustion engine vehicles. Hybrid passenger cars are driving the clean energy vehicle market, achieving a substantial success in sales due to the features of high fuel efficiency, low emissions and affordable price.
In the 21st century, fuel cell vehicles are attracting a great deal of attention all over the world. Japan’s first fuel cell powered experimental vehicle was developed by Mazda Motor Corp. in 1992, and the full-scale development race started in 1996 when Toyota demonstrated a RAV4-based fuel cell test vehicle on the public road for the first time in Japan. In December 2002, Toyota and Honda led the world in limited sales of fuel cell vehicles, marking the first step for full-scale dissemination to society. Further, in 2002, Japan’s first extensive demonstration project for fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen refueling stations was launched.

For further information,
Background and History
Environment and Energy
National project & policy
R&D and Demonstration
EV Demonstrations
Fuel Cell Vehicle Policies
Subsidy, tax incentive, mandate Electric and hybrid electric vehicles can receive a purchase subsidy of up to 50% of the incremental cost of a vehicle under the Clean Energy Vehicle Introduction Project funded by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

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Incentives for EV and HEV
Target In 1997, the government set a target for the diffusion of clean energy vehicles in 2010, in light of the targeted reduction of carbon dioxide emissions based on the Kyoto protocol at the third Conference of the Parties (COP3) of the United Nations Framework Convention of Climate Change. The target for clean energy vehicles was 3.44 million units in operation by 2010 including 200,000 electric vehicles, 1.8 million hybrid vehicles, and 1 million CNG vehicles. Further, the aim is for 210,000 units of advanced battery equipped vehicles, such as fuel cell vehicles, to be in operation by 2010. The target was revised in July 2001 at the board of investigation of natural resources and energy, reducing the number of electric vehicles and increasing the number of hybrid and fuel cell vehicles. Of fuel cell vehicles, the METI also set targets of about 50,000 units for 2010 and about 5,000,000 units for 2020.

Clean Energy Vehicles Target in 2010 (accumulated number)
Electric Vehicle 110000
Hybrid Electric Vehicle & Fuel Cell Vehicle 2110000
Natural Gas Vehicle
LPG vehicle to displace conventional diesel truck and bus 260000
Total 3480000

In May 2001, the government set the target of replacing the government fleet of about 7000 units with low-pollution vehicles by FY2004. Further, in July 2001, the Action Plan for the diffusion of low-pollution vehicles was drawn up jointly by the METI, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, and Transport, and the Ministry of Environment, aiming to integrate the promotional measures conducted by these ministries.


Japan Automobile Research Institute(JARI)
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Phone: +81 3 5733 7927  Fax: +81 3 5473 0655  mtakahas@jari.or.jp