The FINANCIAL — Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and the Japan-based trading company Kanematsu Corporation on October 21 announced that the two companies have been officially selected by the New Energy Industrial Technology and Development Organization (NEDO), Japan’s largest public R&D management organization, to analyze electric vehicle use patterns in Northern California.
Nissan and Kanematsu were officially appointed after NEDO evaluation of the results of their preliminary study conducted from December 2014 to June 2015. Under the agreement between NEDO and the State of California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, Nissan will be the project research coordinator, organizing and conducting the project with Kanematsu, according to Nissan.
The State of California promotes the widespread use of zero emission vehicles. Auto manufacturers with in-state sales above a certain level are obliged to sell a fixed ratio of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and EV users enjoy preferential treatment, including use of priority traffic lanes. California ranks number one among US states for private EV use, with most cars used for shopping and city driving.
The NEDO project will seek to encourage the use of electric vehicles for longer distances and inter-city driving by installing and maintaining multiple quick chargers along specific inter-city routes. Nissan and Kanematsu will collect and analyze data on EV driving patterns in California, and create a suitable model to help promote more extensive use of electric vehicles in the state and beyond.
With the help of the California state government, and U.S. utility company NRG eVgo*, Nissan and Kanematsu plan to place additional quick chargers at suitable locations along inter-city freeways in Northern California, and use project-specific information services to guide EV users to the most efficient chargers along the route. The companies will then assess whether the combined hardware/software model can successfully encourage users to drive longer distances in EVs.
Nissan’s role in the project will be to install and operate the quick chargers, and analyze any changes in EV use that result.
Kanematsu will provide real-time information services to EV users. Kanematsu will also investigate potential business applications for real-time data and big data relating to EVs and EV charging systems.
Nissan is the world’s leading manufacturer of EVs, with sales of the Nissan LEAF totaling 192,600 units in more than 40 countries as of the end of September 2015. By collecting Nissan LEAF data from various countries, Nissan’s Global Data Center is creating a broad picture of worldwide EV driving and charging patterns. Nissan plans to use the results of the preliminary study, along with its GDC data, to choose the best locations for the project’s quick chargers.
Kanematsu has been working with leading Japanese and US companies to develop potential machine-to-machine (M2M) and internet of things (IoT) business applications for automobiles. For this project, Kanematsu will work with Nissan to develop a real-time information service for EV users, and test its potential as a commercial M2M/IoT solution. Nissan and Kanematsu will also consider how in-vehicle hardware and M2M/IoT solutions can contribute to the creation of the ideal connected car equipped with highly functional systems and services.
A positive outcome for the project would benefit consumers in the US by dramatically improving the usefulness and convenience of EVs. Encouraging the adoption of similar systems in other parts of the world could also promote broader electric vehicle ownership worldwide.