TonHe is green floor Jatco The Fuji II factory hums with confidence. Diligent inspectors are evaluating the gears and pulleys that make up a Japanese auto parts maker’s drive train. Robots stamp parts and flip them onto the production line. for decades, Jatco, Like its other proud auto industries, Japan has perfected auto manufacturing. Japan has been at the forefront of the industry, pioneering just-in-time manufacturing and leading the development of hybrid vehicles. But the next big development – the shift to electric vehicles (electric cars) – has become a source of anxiety. “this electric car The shift will be a huge one, there’s no denying it,” said Sato Tomoyoshi, Jatco’Second CEO. “Our company is going to have to change radically.”
To date, Japan and its automakers have been electron voltsSecond, The industry’s fastest growing product segment. Battery-powered electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids (plug-in hybrid electric vehicleSecond) It will account for about 13% of all global car sales in 2022, up from 2.6% in 2019. In some markets, including China, it’s around 20%. But in Japan, the proportion is only 2%.leading company electric car Race includes newcomers such as Tesla and China’s BYDAnd set up giants such as Volkswagen in Germany.
Japanese automakers were not among them. None in the global top 20 electric car sales, despite Nissan and Mitsubishi posting some world-first electric carSecond more than ten years ago.World’s largest car company Toyota sells just 24,000 vehicles electric carTotal sales in 2022 will be 10.5 million vehicles. (Tesla sold 1.3 million.) Sales of Toyota’s first all-electric vehicle, SUV call bZ4Xhad to be suspended last summer due to a defect that caused the wheels to come off.
Critics worry about this early stagnation electric carThis could throw off the wheels of the entire Japanese auto industry. Some see parallels with semiconductors and consumer electronics, industries that were initially dominated by Japanese companies but then missed out on important trends abroad and eventually lost out to more nimble competitors. A similar decline in the auto industry, which accounts for nearly 20 percent of Japan’s exports and about 8 percent of Japanese jobs, would have huge economic and social repercussions.
Japanese automakers are racing to catch up.toyota has a new CEO, Sato Koji, in part responsible for leading the company’s push towards electrification.At its first press conference on April 7, Toyota announced plans to unveil 10 new models electric car Model and Lift Year electric car Sales will reach 1.5 million by 2026. “We’re going to electrify thoroughly, and we can do that right away,” Mr Sato said.
Honda plans to launch 30 electric car model to 2030 and build a electric car A joint venture with Sony last year. The company called the corporate restructuring, which took effect this month, an “acceleration of electrification”. In February, Nissan said it would unveil 19 new models electric car model to 2030; it now calls electrification “central to our strategy”.
Japan gets off to a slow start electric carSecond partly due to its early success – or as Mr. Sato Jatco In a nutshell, this is a classic case of the innovator’s dilemma. Industry leaders are hesitant to embrace a new technology that could disrupt Japan’s leading field, such as the standard hybrid car, which combines an internal combustion engine (ice) and an electric motor powered by a battery that draws energy from regenerative braking (instead of being charged with external electricity, like plug-in hybrid electric vehicleSecond).Engineers at the Japanese firm that fine-tunes complex hybrids are also unimpressed electron voltsSecond, This is mechanically simpler. “Within the industry, there are still a lot of people attached to the engine,” Mr Sato said.Executives worry about the impact electric car changes to their supplier network, e.g. jATCO, Given electric cars needs to be more than iceSecond.Automakers assume eventual shift to electric carA piece of cake: “The logic is that when the time comes, we can easily move from hybrid to electric cars,” said a former executive at a major Japanese auto company.
Japan also made early mistakes with hydrogen, another emerging automotive technology with carbon-free potential. Toyota, Japan’s most influential automaker, is betting that hydrogen fuel cells will become the main way to electrify vehicles. Shinzo Abe, who served as Prime Minister of Japan from 2012 to 2020, advocated a policy to make Japan a “hydrogen society”; in 2015, Toyota delivered the first hydrogen fuel cell car Mirai to Abe himself. While hydrogen could play an important role in decarbonizing hard-to-electrify industries such as steel production or fueling long-haul trucks, it has so far made little sense as a technology for electrifying light-duty consumer vehicles. Even in Japan, where a large hydrogen refueling infrastructure has already been built, Toyota has had trouble selling the expensive Mirai: The company has sold just 7,500 fuel-cell vehicles in total in its home market.
While governments in China, Europe and the United States are increasingly subsidizing electric carJapan has done less to incentivize the adoption of these policies as part of its climate policies. The government has called for 100 percent of vehicles sold to be electrified by 2035. But that would include hybrids, in line with other governments’ more narrow definition of next-generation vehicles.Japan’s subsidies for fuel cell vehicles are still much higher than those for fuel cell vehicles electric carSecond.Strict regulation hampers expansion electric car Charging infrastructure: The number of public facilities in Japan is about a quarter of that in Japan electric car Chargers such as South Korea, its much smaller neighbors.
lingering skepticism electric car Technology partly explains Japan’s cautious attitude.Japanese automakers and officials are “still in doubt,” says Tsuruhara Yoshiro of industry magazine AutoInsight: “Yes. electric carWhat do consumers want? Are they providing value for them?Are they the best way to reduce carbon dioxide?Akio Toyoda, ex-Toyota CEO “Carbon is the enemy, not the internal combustion engine,” the grandson of the company’s founder likes to say. Even under Toyoda’s protégé Mr. Sato, the company sticks to what it calls a “multi-path” strategy, namely electric carAs part of a diverse fleet. “We believe that the greatest net CO2 savings on a global scale is achieved by adapting solutions for each part of the world,” said Toyota Chief Scientist Gil Pratt. For example, in developing countries, the uptake of renewable energy is widespread Slower than Western, conventional hybrids may offer a more practical and economical way to reduce emissions in the interim.
But some believe Japan’s automakers are moving too late to catch up to changing times in more developed markets. “They’re like closed countries under the Tokugawa shogunate — they refuse to see what’s going on in the world,” said Murasawa Yoshihisa, a management consultant. While Japanese cars were once synonymous with fuel efficiency and environmentalism, they risk becoming synonymous with climate denialism. Japan’s Big Three automakers — Toyota, Honda and Nissan — rank lowest among the world’s top 10 car companies in terms of decarbonization efforts, according to a recent study by environmental group Greenpeace.
Experience as Toyota with bZ4X Advise, design and build first-class electric cars may not be as simple as the Japanese company assumes. “They’re so confident that once they decide to do it, they dominate the market. electric car market,” Mr. Murasawa said. “But it turns out their product is outdated. ” create electric carProducts that appeal to consumers need to focus more on software, while Japanese companies have traditionally prioritized hardware. Even as they finally get ready, the Japanese company is already losing loyal customers. Japanese brands with “established heritage” in the US “caught off guard in the context of 2022”, concludes Standard & Poor’s Global Mobility, an American research institute.As the research points out, consumers turn to electric carThe 2022 S is a major transfer from Toyota and Honda. ■
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