By on July 13, 2010

While other countries are still struggling with the electric car in itself, Japan is already in the middle of the big charging station craze. TTAC will continue keeping an eye on these developments. No country is better suited for self serve chargers than Japan, where you can buy anything from a vending machine, from flowers to condoms, from rice to the infamous girls’ panties. According to credible statistics, there are 23 people per vending machine in Japan. Soon, there will be more. Vending machines.

Toyota is joining the fray with the first mass-produced charging station with communications functions for electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, reports The Nikkei [sub]. It’s from Toyota Industries, the happy big zaibatsu of which ToMoCo is a member.

Using cellular networks, the charging station will stay in touch with charging central, it will handle financial transactions via credit cars, report charging activity and any problems or outages.

The charging stations, which were developed jointly with Nitto Electric Works will be marketed to gas stations, convenience stores and other facilities where people have the 100 minutes it takes to charge up a car.  One of them will cost roughly $6,000.

Meanwhile in the U.S., you have the choice of charging your future Nissan Leaf EV for 20 hours from a standard 120 Volt outlet, or within 8 hours from a special home charging dock that operates on 220 to 240 volts. The latter is easier said than done. Customers must request an in-home inspection before they receive a quote. Next, an electrician will be scheduled to install the dock. Finally, a municipal inspector likely will come to ensure the dock was properly put in.  In some communities, that can take weeks,. That’s why automakers, led by Nissan, are touring city halls to talk building departments into streamlining building codes and permitting procedures. It will be a long road.  “Each town and village is their own fiefdom with their own building codes,” said Jamie Young, associate legal council for Connecticut Gov. Jodi Rell, to the Wall Street Journal-

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