Japan is the world’s center of gravity for plug-ins one actually can buy. News from the land of Nippon also illustrate a little detail that prevents EVs from wholesale adoption.
There is an EV conundrum that had been largely overlooked or ignored amongst the hype: So you need a charging station in your garage. What if you don’t have your own garage, because you live in an apartment complex? Range-challenged EVs are targeted at dense cities, and where do people live in dense cities?
Even if you could convince your building’s management that the greening of the planet is their moral obligation, there are other obstacles to overcome: “It is more difficult to install chargers and 200-volt power sources in buildings with multiple households than at a single-family home because fees must be collected from individual users and security measures must be in place to prevent unauthorized use,” writes The Nikkei [sub]. “Installing them at existing condo buildings is even more time-consuming because it requires approval from the residents association.”
Those pesky little details. Running fiber to your wall to give you gigabit Internet sounds downright trivial compared to equipping basement or (oops!) roadside parking spaces with hefty chargers. And where is my gigabit fiber anyway?
To allow condo-dwellers to charge up, you need to – brace yourself – build new condos. This is what “a growing number of real estate developers” in Japan are planning to do. They intend “to build condominium complexes with parking lots and garages equipped with electric car battery chargers, expecting the cars to become widespread in the near future,” reports The Nikkei. It will be slow going.
Daikyo, one of Japan’s largest condo builders, “will set aside roughly 10 percent of the parking space to install EV battery chargers at the 70 or so condo complexes it will build in the Tokyo metropolitan area next fiscal year.” Smaller builders Itochu and Mitsui Fudosan are working on 10 buildings. Let’s hope they will put in the conduit for the remaining 90 percent.
Here is another sign that chargers won’t grow like mushrooms in the dim light of condo garages: The chargers need to be administered, usage of chargers needs to be — charged.
For that, Japan’s Fulltime System Co. has devised a system that allows the tracking of EV battery chargers at condo complexes from one single location. According to The Nikkei, Fulltime “aims to win business at 50 new and existing buildings this year, charging each building several hundred thousand of yen for the service.”
Nasty legacy infrastructure.
At least something is done in Japan. I shudder at the thought of the discussions with my former Upper Eastside co-op board.