JAPAN HAS ITS OWN REASONS FOR NOT TRANSITIONING TO ELECTRIC VEHICLES

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JAPAN HAS ITS OWN REASONS FOR NOT TRANSITIONING TO ELECTRIC VEHICLES
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ARGAM ARTASHYAN MARCH 14, 2021
AdobeStock_245393308-e1563465119214.jpg
Electric vehicle changing on street parking with graphical user interface, Future EV car concept


The major automakers are now transitioning to electric cars. But the behavior of Japanese companies seems to run counter to the current mainstream trend. There are two main reasons for this. One is that Japanese automakers have invested heavily in the field of hybrid electric cars. So they don’t want to abandon this idea. Second, they worry about the technical obstacles inherent in electric cars. This will cause damage to the traditional automotive industry ecosystem.

Just over a decade ago, Nissan Motor Co. became the world’s first car manufacturer to mass-produce pure battery cars. At least by the standards of electric vehicles, its hatchback Leaf is a very popular electric model, with more than 500,000 sold by the end of 2020. But as the trail that Nissan blazed becomes increasingly crowded, Japan’s mighty auto industry is in danger of being left behind. While governments and automakers worldwide are staking out bold pledges to transition to electric-only vehicles, Japanese car companies and regulators are hedging their bets.

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Nissan Leaf

Japanese automakers still dominate the current global market for environmentally friendly vehicles (hybrid electric vehicles). And they hope to use their huge investments in this technology for as long as possible to obtain more returns. However, Leaf’s original chief designer Masato Inoue said that this short-term streak carries the risk that the country’s most important industry will miss a transformative moment.

He added that ‘when it comes to disruptions, there is always fear. A big wave of electric vehicles is really coming.’

However, currently, electric cars account for less than 3% of global sales. There are many reasons behind this. But it seems the most bothersome reasons are the high prices, limited range and longer charging time. We should admit that only some luxury models provide the best performance.


JAPANESE AUTOMAKERS HAVE SLOW TRANSFORMATION
Tesla was one of the most active electric carmakers. So it is logical to see this company on the top of the list. In January of this year, General Motors became the first major automaker to announce that it would eliminate all vehicle exhaust emissions and vowed to achieve this goal by 2035. Just recently, Volvo pledged to only produce electric cars by 2030 to surpass larger competitors. In addition to traditional automakers, start-ups like Weilai Automobile, as well as giants in other industries such as Apple, are all seeking to take a share in this booming market.

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Automakers in the United States, China, Europe, and South Korea are already rapidly surpassing Japanese competitors. Toyota did not launch the first pure electric car in the consumer market until early 2020. And Honda is relying on General Motors to produce electric cars for the US market.

According to data from EV-volumes.com, Japanese cars account for less than 5% of global pure electric vehicle sales in 2020. This share is mainly attributable to the enduring popularity of Leaf, which accounts for nearly 65% of battery electric vehicle sales in Japan.

Part of the reason for the electric vehicle boom is that China, European countries and other regions plan to increase sales of electric vehicles in the next few years, or ban gasoline vehicles. Scientists say that abandoning the use of fuel vehicles is vital to climate change.

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Tesla

These measures have created a huge potential market for all-electric vehicles. And investors clearly see it as the future of the automotive industry. Today, Tesla’s market capitalization is higher than the nine largest automakers combined, even though its car sales account for only a small portion of them.

JAPAN IS STILL OPTIMISTIC ABOUT THE PROSPECTS OF HYBRID VEHICLES
However, in Japan, automakers and the government are questioning certain basic premises that drive the trend of electric vehicles. At least in the short to medium term, they are skeptical about the potential profitability of electric vehicles. In December last year, Japan announced that it would stop selling new fuel vehicles in mid-2030s. However, the Japanese government still considers hybrid vehicles to be an important technology. Plus, it has no intention to follow the example of the United Kingdom and California to issue bans. Japanese regulators said they will announce relevant details this year.

To resist the call for the elimination of hybrid vehicles, Akio Toyoda, the president of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and the president of Toyota, the global leader in hybrid vehicle sales, found the strongest support.

Toyota leads the trend of the entire Japanese automobile industry. The company owns the Daihatsu brand. In recent years, it has formed partnerships with three smaller automakers—Subaru, Suzuki, and Mazda to develop hybrid vehicles. These three companies produce more than half of all Japanese cars. In addition, Toyota is also vigorously promoting the use of hydrogen fuel cells to drive cars, although this technology has not yet become popular in Japan or elsewhere.

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In December last year, Akio Toyoda scorned the idea of replacing hybrid vehicles with all-electric vehicles in Japan at a press conference. At the same time, he accused the Japanese media of exaggerating the commercial and environmental viability of hybrid vehicles.

As Toyota’s second largest market, Japan plans to achieve carbon neutrality in 2050. But Japan continues to rely on fossil fuel power generation. So the realization of the environmental benefits of automobiles will still be far away.

SO WHEN IS JAPAN PLANNING TO TRANSITION TO ELECTRIC VEHICLES?
Also, he said that if Japan is forced to switch to all-electric vehicles that require fewer parts and are easier to manufacture, this could cause millions of people to lose their jobs and destroy auto parts entire ecosystem of suppliers.

IDTechEx stated in a report that the sales of gasoline-electric hybrid vehicles are expected to continue to grow until 2027. The company’s analyst James Edmondson said that, therefore, it is understandable that Japanese companies and regulators want to recoup the country’s huge investment in hybrid technology and wait to see how consumer preferences and foreign regulatory regimes evolve.

Kota Yuzawa, an auto industry analyst at US investment bank Goldman Sachs, said it is not a question of whether Japanese automakers can complete the transition. They have world-class technologies and have invested a lot of resources to develop more technologies. ‘But they are waiting for the right timing.’


SOURCE: Gizchina
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flowerlandfilms

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...cultural risk aversion? or just bog standard foolishness...
...they'll have to change their tune either way...
 

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Do as you PLEASE Japan, less reliance on Nuclear is BEST!

Fukushima has released and still releases grotesque amounts of radioactive waste water into one if the worlds largest toilet bowls.

All for the sake of "going green".

SMH!
 
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Crissa

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Fukushima has released and still releases grotesque amounts of radioactive waste water into one if the worlds largest toilet bowls.
The amount released is easily measured, but that doesn't mean it's dangerous.

The lesson seems to be 'Don't run nuclear reactora past their prime'. And 'have shutdown procedures that don't require electricity.'

-Crissa
 

Owner13669

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The amount released is easily measured, but that doesn't mean it's dangerous.

The lesson seems to be 'Don't run nuclear reactora past their prime'. And 'have shutdown procedures that don't require electricity.'

-Crissa
And “Don’t put vital switches and generators in basements in flood vulnerable areas”. Current reactors require electricity for shutdown and cooling. Both of the reactor and storage of used fuel.
 
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TruckElectric

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Japan to start releasing Fukushima water into sea in 2 years
By MARI YAMAGUCHI April 12, 2021

TOKYO (AP) — Japan’s government announced Tuesday it would start releasing treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant into the Pacific Ocean in two years. It’s a move that’s fiercely opposed by fishermen, residents and Japan’s neighbors.

The decision, long speculated at but delayed for years because of safety worries and protests, came during a meeting of Cabinet ministers who endorsed the ocean release as the best option.

The accumulating water has been stored in tanks at the Fukushima Daiichi plant since 2011, when a massive earthquake and tsunami damaged its reactors and their cooling water became contaminated and began leaking. The plant’s storage capacity will be full late next year.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said the ocean release was the most realistic option and that disposing the water is needed to complete the decades-long decommissioning of the Fukushima plant. He said the government would work to make sure the water is safe and to help local agriculture, fisheries and tourism.

The plant’s operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co., and government officials say tritium, which is not harmful in small amounts, cannot be removed from the water, but all other selected radionuclides can be reduced to releasable levels. Some scientists say the long-term impact on marine life from low-dose exposure to such large volumes of water is unknown.

The government stresses the water’s safety, calling it “treated” not “radioactive,” even though radionuclides can only be reduced to disposable levels, not to zero. The amount of radioactive material that would remain in the water is unknown.

Releasing the water into the ocean was described as the most realistic solution by a government panel that for nearly seven years had discussed how to dispose of the water. The report last year mentioned evaporation as a less desirable option.

Under the basic plan adopted Tuesday by the ministers, TEPCO will start releasing the water in about two years after building a facility and compiling release plans that follow safety requirements. It said the disposal of the water cannot be postponed further and is necessary to improve the environment surrounding the plant so residents can live there safely.

Residents, fisheries officials and environmental groups issued statements denouncing the decision as ignoring environmental safety and health, and further hurting Fukushima’s image and economy.

Japan Fisheries Cooperatives chairman Hiroshi Kishi said the decision less than a week after he met with Suga “trampled on” all Japanese fisheries operators.

Local fisheries have just returned to full operation after a decade in which their catch was only for testing purposes, and they are struggling because of dwindling demand.

Protestors gathered outside the Prime Minister’s Office to demand the plan be scrapped.

TEPCO says its water storage capacity of 1.37 million tons will be full around fall of 2022. Also, the area now filled with storage tanks needs to be used for new buildings needed for removing melted fuel debris from inside the reactors and for other decommissioning work in coming years.

In the decade since the tsunami disaster, water meant to cool the nuclear material has constantly escaped from the damaged primary containment vessels into the basements of the reactor buildings. To make up for the loss, more water has been pumped into the reactors to continue to cool the melted fuel. Water is also pumped out and treated, part of which is recycled as cooling water, and the remainder stored in 1,020 tanks now holding 1.25 million tons of radioactive water.

Those tanks, which occupy a large space at the plant, interfere with the safe and steady progress of the decommissioning, Economy and Industry Minister Hiroshi Kajiyama said. The tanks also could be damaged and leak in case of another powerful earthquake or tsunami, the report said.

About 70% of the water in the tanks is contaminated beyond discharge limits but will be filtered again and diluted with seawater before it is released, the report says. According to a preliminary estimate, gradual release of the water will take nearly 40 years but will be completed before the plant is fully decommissioned.

Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority chairman Toyoshi Fuketa has repeatedly called for a ocean discharge, saying a controlled release of the adequately treated water would pose no human or environmental harm.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi, in a video message, said the ocean discharge was in line with international practice, though “the large amount of water at the Fukushima plant makes it a unique and complex case.”

He said IAEA will fully support Japan in environmental monitoring to ensure the safety of the water release, its transparency and confidence in and outside the country.

China and South Korea reacted strongly to Tuesday’s decision.

Koo Yun-cheol, minister of South Korea’s Office for Government Policy Coordination, said the plan was “absolutely unacceptable” and urged Japan to disclose how the water is treated and its safety is verified. South Korea has banned seafood imports from parts of Japan since 2013 and could increase those steps.

China criticized Japan’s decision as “extremely irresponsible,” saying it had not considered the health concerns of neighboring countries.

___


SOURCE: AP
 
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datechboss101

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I do see Japan's point here on why they are hesitant. They got the god awful Prius (shouldn't be in existence at all), Hydrogen fueled cell vehicles, Plug-in hybrids, etc. I actually prefer the Hybrid option. We all need to slowly transition into other fueled type of vehicles, but also we need to kill the office commute. If we kill this commute in the US alone, we can see better air quality and less congestion and traffic.

Hybrids are the perfect middle ground between full blown ICE vehicles and full blown EVs, and aids to the transition to EVs. This gives owners an experience with the best of both worlds, and if they like the EV portion of the Hybrid, most of the time, their next vehicle purchase will be an EV. If they don't like the EV portion, then they will go back to an ICE vehicle. I don't like governments forcing its citizens to buy EVs, unless they give a tax break or credit for the remainder of time, because the cost of buying an EV and the cost of filling up a gasser will not cross paths for at least a decade. But, if we talking environmental, then yes, they will cross paths sooner.

Right now as we speak, not many companies makes a decent amount of range for EVs that is equivalent to ICE vehicles and also the charge times are longer than filling up the fuel tank.

I believe in the Japanese car market and companies, and they will eventually make the transition to EVs. Usually, the Japanese will perfect everything, so I am not worried that they will be behind. They will come ahead, especially once battery technologies have fully developed into cleaner and better manufacturing, electrical range, etc.
 

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Japan also doesn't have lithium resources so they're looking for a less import-reliant technology. Hence hydrogen's promise.

-Crissa
 

Akgolf

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As a long time and currentToyota owner, I was expecting a really nice electric vehicle from Toyota by now. Very disappointed in the company and I’m not convinced they’ll survive if they wait to long.

In addition to the Cybertruck in a couple of years, we’ll be adding a Model Y this fall. Could have been a Toyota, but looks like our current one is the last.
 

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As a long time and currentToyota owner, I was expecting a really nice electric vehicle from Toyota by now. Very disappointed in the company and I’m not convinced they’ll survive if they wait to long.

In addition to the Cybertruck in a couple of years, we’ll be adding a Model Y this fall. Could have been a Toyota, but looks like our current one is the last.
I'm also a long-time Toyota owner and my wife is wanting me to get her a Toyota Sequoia. But I've told her we are not buying any more ICE vehicles. We currently have 2 hybrids and one ICE. Next will be fully electric. For the moment I have her staved off with the promise that when we get the money together that I'll get her an MX.

I had originally been buying hybrid Toyota's as an encouragement to the marketplace to get on the stick with EV's. Now that EV's are becoming a thing, (I'm sure it's all because of me) it's time for me to get on the EV bandwagon.
 

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They got the god awful Prius (shouldn't be in existence at all),
We owned a Prius for 12 years, and it was an excellent car.

It was definitely an owner's care rather than a driver's car. It started every morning, and saved us on fuel and repair bills. Yes, it sounds like you stepped on a kitten when you lay the hammer down, but we drove it all over the eastern USA without any problems.

The Prius is a great deal used, because they repel the kind of drivers who would hoon it.

The Prius isn't going to satisfy a rich kid with a heavy foot. But, it's one of the best small gasoline-powered cars of its era for those of us who need reliable + efficient + versatile transportation in order to survive.

The Prius definitely should be in existence.
 

firsttruck

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We owned a Prius for 12 years, and it was an excellent car.

....
The Prius isn't going to satisfy a rich kid with a heavy foot. But, it's one of the best small gasoline-powered cars of its era for those of us who need reliable + efficient + versatile transportation in order to survive.

The Prius definitely should be in existence.
It costs more to make a complex machine versus a simpler machine even if the complex machine is more efficient.

In the past Toyota was able to sell millions of Prius while charging a premium (higher) price.

By 2024/2025 there will be several models of full BEVs that cost significantly less to make than the Prius. Toyota Prius sales will drop & Toyota will lose the economy of scale advantage too.

Toyota will be making a lot less profit (maybe even loss) on each Prius with no way to reduce Prius cost. Toyota can reduce selling price but not the manufacturing cost.

Yes, there is room in market for some hybrid models but not at the highest volume & high price of the past.

2024/205 is now too close. Toyota will switch put now they are probably going to experience a lot of pain.

In BEVs 2025, GM who are the traitors of the BEV world (killed EV1) might be ahead of Toyota in BEV sales.
 

Luke42

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It costs more to make a complex machine versus a simpler machine even if the complex machine is more efficient.

In the past Toyota was able to sell millions of Prius while charging a premium (higher) price.

By 2024/2025 there will be several models of full BEVs that cost significantly less to make than the Prius. Toyota Prius sales will drop & Toyota will lose the economy of scale advantage too.

Toyota will be making a lot less profit (maybe even loss) on each Prius with no way to reduce Prius cost. Toyota can reduce selling price but not the manufacturing cost.

Yes, there is room in market for some hybrid models but not at the highest volume & high price of the past.

2024/205 is now too close. Toyota will switch put now they are probably going to experience a lot of pain.

In BEVs 2025, GM who are the traitors of the BEV world (killed EV1) might be ahead of Toyota in BEV sales.
The Prius had a higher initial cost, but a lower TCO over 12 years.

That thing was a cockroach. I nerded out over it's internals, but the only thing I ever got to replace over 12-years of ownership was the shifter-joystick. It had alignment pegs.

Part of the reason it's so reliable is that, while its continuously variable transmission sounds complicated, it's actually just a beefy differential gear with an electric motor on one side, and a genset on the other. The complexity lives in software. The core of the Prius is this magic transmission, and it's mechanically pretty simple:
A typical automatic transmission is *much* more complicated than that with a half dozen hydromechanical clutches and stuff.

Also, the interior space utilization in the Prius is better than most cars I've driven. The hatchback and folding seats mean you can haul a *lot* more than you'd think. We hauled two kids and all their stuff in ours, no problem.

The Prius is exceptionally reliable, useful, and efficient.

I'm not asking anyone to like the Prius, or it's owners -- that's a matter of personal taste. But you should understand why there are so many of these things on the road.

It's an owner's car, not a driver's car. It's a great little car, and it's still really hard to find anything which competes toe to toe with it. The Prius is really well built for its use-case.

The Model Y is the only car I've driven which could make the Prius obsolete. The Model Y is far simpler than the Prius or a Corolla under the hood, but it costs a lot more to buy. 🤷‍♂️
 
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Akgolf

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As a current Prius owner that pays for all of the scheduled maintenance, I’ll be looking forward to dumping it for Tesla. All you have to do is compare the required maintenance for both vehicles to see why most want to go electric.
 

datechboss101

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We owned a Prius for 12 years, and it was an excellent car.

It was definitely an owner's care rather than a driver's car. It started every morning, and saved us on fuel and repair bills. Yes, it sounds like you stepped on a kitten when you lay the hammer down, but we drove it all over the eastern USA without any problems.

The Prius is a great deal used, because they repel the kind of drivers who would hoon it.

The Prius isn't going to satisfy a rich kid with a heavy foot. But, it's one of the best small gasoline-powered cars of its era for those of us who need reliable + efficient + versatile transportation in order to survive.

The Prius definitely should be in existence.

I pushed my underpowered CUV for 2 years to its limits. I done things most people would say could cause internal issues and premature failures. After doing a ton of research (i.e.: pushing said vehicle to its limits), it became clear: The Toyota Prius is totally pointless. We now have mid-sized sedans, CUVS, SUVs, that are becoming Hybrids and now EVs. This means not that the Prius is ugly, but also its so small and compact, where larger vehicles, such as the CRV Hybrid, Rav4 Prime/Hybrid, RX 450h, etc., attains better range, and MPGs, while having better cargo capacity.

If larger vehicles couldn't achieve such range with great MPGs and weren't Hybridized or electrified, then I do see the need and existence of the Toyota Prius. We live in a different world now, and the Prius honestly needs to die off sooner than later.
 
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