EV infrastructure experiments and pilot programs are popping up all over – this week’s new program is taking place in Saitama City, Japan. A number of companies, including NTT Data, NEC, and Hitachi are banding together at the behest of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism and its 2011 initiative, the Promotion of Urban Environmental Project Grants.
In order for EV usage to become widespread, a proper charging infrastructure is paramount. Saitama is testing a model infrastructure for user convenience second, and for how to get customers to pay the proper amount first (charging for charging, as it were). To get the experiment under way, the three companies named above have networked their computer centers together – a first in Japanese history.
How It Works
Saitama City has a total of 57 EV charging stations already installed – 13 rapid charging stations and 44 normal stations – all of which follow the CHAdeMO standardization protocol. Those 57 stations give Saitama CIty the highest density of EV charging stations in the country.
When a test phase participant goes to charge their vehicle, they must insert their personal IC card. (100 of these cards will be distributed before the test phase begins.) The card will authorize the user to use the station. No card, no dice.
During the test phase, information will be gathered; how often each station is used, how often each user charges their car, how much power is needed by each station and so on. The monitoring system was developed by Hitachi Solutions, but NTT Data and NEC are (as we said) also networked into it. The system has been designed under the assumption that first, the project will be a success, and second, that more companies will get on board and join the network.
While EV drivers are concerned with when and where and how to charge their cars, automakers, electric companies, and charging equipment manufacturers are concerned with how to get the customer to pay their bills. The new project is trying to address both issues.
Worried about the bottom line or trying to give green technology a shot – what do you think the Saitama project’s motivation is? Let us know in the comments, below.