Japan takes steps to support rapid EV charging
Japan is to relax regulations on the installation of rapid electric vehicle charging stations in a bid to accelerate the development of the country’s charging infrastructure.
The Japanese government’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency, which oversees EV charging regulations, plans to ease the rules surrounding charging stations with a capacity of more than 200kW.
Strict safety precautions
Strict safety precautions currently apply to charging stations of more than 200kW, which are treated as if they are electrical substations handling high voltage currents.
As a result, indoor rapid charging stations need to be separated by ceilings and walls of fire-resistant materials, and depending on the equipment, there may be restrictions on who is allowed to operate the chargers.
This significantly increases costs. According to Nikkei Asia, the installation of rapid charging stations can cost tens of millions of yen (10m yen is worth about $75,000) and millions more annually to operate.
Under the proposed changes, 200kW-plus charging stations will be treated in the same way as those with more than 50kW, which means they will still have to be positioned a certain distance away from buildings.
Japan has been slow to adopt electric cars, preferring hybrids, with battery-electric models accounting for only about 1% of new car sales in 2021. However, the International Energy Authority forecasts that this share will reach 47% by 2030, with a further 9% being plug-in hybrid, and the Japanese government has set a goal of achieving 100% EV sales by 2035.