A Japanese startup will set up 1,000 fast charging stations for electric vehicles in Tokyo, more than the number of gas stations, in the next 18 months, the company said Tuesday, part of a growing push to bolster charging infrastructure in the country.
The plan by Tokyo-based Terra Motors would bring the total number of fast-charging stations in the capital to around 1,500—over 50% more than the roughly 900 gas stations there as of the end of March.
“A thousand roughly equals the number of gas stations in Tokyo,” said Terra founder and Chairman Toru Tokushige. “With this many charging stations, we can eliminate users’ concerns over where to charge their vehicles.”
Terra’s hubs will be equipped with ultrafast 150-kilowatt chargers. The company will first install them at appliance retail chain Kojima’s stores, with plans to eventually expand into parking lots of post offices, drugstores and supermarkets.
“It is important to place charging stations close to people’s homes, at places they go to as part of their daily routine,” Terra Chief Operating Officer Kosuke Nakagawa said.
The exact pricing at its stations is still being determined, the startup said.
An electric passenger car is usually equipped with a roughly 60-kilowatt-hour battery, while larger models, like sport utility vehicles, can come with a 100-kWh battery. Based on rough calculations, Terra’s ultrafast charger could charge the latter in 40 minutes, compared with 150 minutes using the average fast charger in Japan.
Terra raised JPY 4 billion yen (USD 27 million) from Osaka Gas, Tokyo Century and other investors through a private placement of new shares in June. It will tap this funding as well as government subsidies to cover the cost of installing and operating the new charging stations.
“It will cost over 10 billion yen in total to set up 1,000 charging stations,” Tokushige said.
There were 30,287 EV chargers across Japan as of the end of August, including 9,237 fast chargers, according to mapping company Zenrin. The Japanese government is aiming for an increase to 300,000 and 30,000 by 2030, respectively, but the push to bolster Japan’s charging infrastructure has slowed due to the country’s relatively small market for EVs.
Tesla, BYD and other automakers are ramping up their push into Japan, including through smaller EV models suited for the country’s tight roads. Terra’s plans could help encourage further adoption of electrics, which currently account for around 2% of Japan’s passenger car sales.