Orix expands into EV charging
Japan has a complicated relationship with EVs. It has taken Toyota years to come up with the bZ4X (or Subaru Solterra), but also the other manufacturers are lagging behind compared to American, European, Chinese and Korean brands.
And there’s a solid truth in what Toyota’s Akio Toyoda has been claiming: EVs are not in every country the most sustainable solution, infrastructure is a real challenge and, as we’re experiencing right now, energy is not cheap nor readily available to cater for millions of EVs… Most of the Japanese corporate fleets (but also Japanese consumers) run hybrid, and it’s by far the most rational choice.
Nonetheless, there’s a global EV market and the Japanese are missing out on many levels. Few models are available, domestic EV sales are below 2% of total sales volume, but more importantly, the Japanese OEMs have applied an investment strategy that goes head-to-head with Korean/Chinese strategies. The latter have put their money on nickel mines (Indonesia), short supply chains, battery production… and are geared up to conquer the world.
Japanese consumers don’t buy EVs; there’s absolutely no “EV-hype” as is the case amongst European and Californians, charging infrastructure is lacking, – e.g., available at Toyota dealerships - although governmental subsidies are available. In addition, the bZ4X (as an example) is not a cheap car and is only available as a lease proposal (developed by Toyota’s Kinto) and is pretty expensive and limited in volume (3000 units from launch to autumn, 5000 units annually thereafter – source: Toyota Motor Corporation Official Global Website).
Orix is one of Japan’s leading leasing companies and runs operations across APAC. The company has established a solid reputation beyond the region as a reliable partner, able to conduct a pan-regional conversation with global fleet managers through its Australia office. When it comes to its Japanese offering, Orix has now announced its intention to install 50,000 charging stations by 2025 in partnership with Ubiden, a SoftBank-affiliated startup.
Orix Auto will also partner with Daikyo, a major real estate developer owned by Orix, to install stations in its residential buildings. If successful, Orix will own one third of the anticipated number of 150.000 chargers to become available in Japan by 2030.