September 23 2005 Fuji Heavy Industries (FHI), the maker of Subaru automobiles, and Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) have announced joint development of an electric vehicle (EV). The two companies will spend approximately one year designing and manufacturing the new EV for commercial uses, basing it on the Subaru R1e concept car. FHI is developing and manufacturing 10 prototype vehicles which TEPCO will use as part of its business and service fleet, and examine their performance and economic benefits.
Carbon dioxide emissions in the transportation industry increased in Japan during the fiscal year ending March 31, 2004 by 19.8% compared to 1991. It is regarded as an urgent issue industry-wide.
TEPCO has a large fleet and the company has set goals to reduce fuel consumption and introduce low-emission vehicles.
The EV project represents significant cooperation between TEPCO, a power company with strengths in developing electric charging systems for EVs, and FHI.
FHI plans to manufacture and market EVs by further improving on Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) batteries.
FHI will be in charge of producing the model, which will meet specifications determined by TEPCO, including fitting the dimensions of Japan's mini-cars, as well as a driving distance of 80 km per day.
After delivery FHI will monitor the daily-use performance data, plus economic benefits collected and analyzed by TEPCO.
FHI will examine optimal battery capacity and continue to develop lighter weight, lower cost EVs.
TEPCO will develop a rapid electric charger, capable of charging up to 80% of the battery within 15 minutes, capitalizing on its accumulated research and technology in electric charging systems.
TEPCO will also study the possibility of switching a part of its fleet of approximately 8300 vehicles to EVs in the fiscal year ending March 31, 2008 and beyond.
Such a shift to EVs will represent a change in 3000 vehicles that are currently compact cars of gasoline engine displacement of 1500cc or less.
The new vehicles will transport only small cargo and will be limited to a daily driving distance of 80km.
TEPCO estimates the changeover of 3000 vehicles to EVs will reduce annual CO2 emissions by 2800 tons and cut yearly fuel cost by 190 million yen.
FHI envisions that the corporate fleet vehicle market is a promising growth area for EVs.
By understanding TEPCO's vehicle needs and accumulating additional know-how, FHI will continue improvements on EVs, aiming to market them to other companies and expand their use.
Major specifications of the EV to be jointly developed:
Development schedules: September-December 2005: Joint design work on the EV prototype Mid-October 2005: Completion of the first prototype and delivery March 2006: Completion of the 10th vehicle and delivery (When each vehicle is completed, it will be delivered to and field-tested by TEPCO)
Responsibilities of joint development work: Responsibilities of joint development work: TEPCO Development and determination of vehicle specifications and major devices; design and manufacture of a power-charging system and data collection and analysis of EV uses and performance Responsibilities of joint development work: FHI
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