Sumitomo Corporation, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and NEC Corporation have announced that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote a new membership-based charging service for electric vehicle (EV) users that will be available for the first time nationwide in Japan.
Collaboration set to improve user convenience in the charging network
Under the agreement, the three companies will conduct a joint study to develop charging facilities which can provide continuous service to EV users and maintenance of charging equipment by working with existing service providers. They will also establish a business model for the charging infrastructure that will give convenience to EV users by optimally installing standard charging facilities and quick chargers at key strategic locations, including provisions of charging facilities for residents of apartment buildings and monthly parking users. In addition, future use of charging facilities by plug-in hybrid vehicles will also be studied.
Sumitomo also launched the New Business Development & Promotion Division, which is responsible for environmental businesses and is working on developing new approaches to realizing a low-carbon, recycling-based society. Aiming to realise such a society, the company will also support the widespread adoption of next-generation vehicles including EV through the second-life use of lithium-ion batteries for automotive use, the development of the system that facilitates “Green IT” and the auto lease business by its affiliate company, Sumitomo Mitsui Auto Service Company.
With the goal of becoming a global leader in zero-emission mobility, Nissan launched its mass-market EV, Nissan LEAF in Japan on December 20th 2010, with Nissan-developed quick chargers going on sale previously in May. Through the new service, the company intends to accelerate the development of an infrastructure essential to promoting EV and achieve both greater convenience to users and business feasibility.
NEC will provide various systems utilising cloud computing in the membership management, including quick charging services, member authentication and payment processing. Through this new business, the company will improve convenience for users with the establishment of a new infrastructure that takes advantage of networked charging facilities and ICT technologies to promote a whole new service that will contribute to the environment.
In order to create further synergy for the business, the three companies will leverage their combined know-how in gaining support from a wide-range of organisations from all industries. The first trial service is set to start within in Japan early 2011.