Nissan Motor Co. and the Japan-based trading company, Kanematsu Corporation, will work with the New Energy Industrial Technology and Development Organization (NEDO), Japan’s largest public R&D management organization, to encourage the use of electric vehicles for longer-distance driving in Northern California.
As the project’s research coordinator, Nissan will organize the project and compile preliminary results together with Kanematsu up to the end of June 2015. The results will then be used in the project’s validation efforts.
The State of California actively promotes widespread use of zero emission vehicles (ZEV). For example, 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-distance, inter-city driving by installing and maintaining multiple rapid chargers along specific inter-city routes. Nissan and Kanematsu will collect, analyze, and research 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, 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 quick chargers along the route. They will then assess whether the combined hardware/software model can successfully encourage users to drive longer distances in their EVs.
Nissan’s role in the project will be to install and operate the quick chargers, and analyze any changes in EV usage as a 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 Nissan LEAF and other EVs totaling 164,000 units in more than 40 countries as of the end of January 2015. By collecting Nissan LEAF data from various countries, Nissan’s Global Data Center is creating a broad picture of worldwide EV travel and charging patterns. Nissan plans to use the results of the preliminary study, along with its GDC data, to decide 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 with high-functioning systems and services.
A positive outcome to the project would benefit users 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.