New technology that can charge an electric car in five minutes is due to be rolled out across Japan.
The company behind the scheme, the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), is Japan's largest energy supplier and has been testing the charging stations in conjunction with Mitsubishi and Subaru. Charge times will depend upon individual EVs, but a five-minute charge could allow a small electric car to travel up to 40km, while a 10 minute charge will give a 60km range.
Like Gordon Brown, the Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda has pledged a long-term commitment to electric vehicle technology, and wants half of cars sold in Japan to be electric by 2020. Nissan, Subaru, Mitsubishi and Toyota will all be launching plug-in vehicles for the Japanese market before the end of 2010.
TEPCO plan to install over 200 of the free-to-use charging stations, which cost £20k each, before March 2010. A further 1000 stations will then be installed within 3 years. The project is funded by government money.
London currently has 40 official standard charge points across the city, with a further 100 stations pledged by mayor Boris Johnson. It¹s not yet clear whether the higher-voltage fast charge technology can be used in Britain, but some experts have suggested that locations like railway station car parks could be used, as they offer easy access to a high-voltage electricity supply.