5 years ago

As Electric Cars’ Prospects Brighten, Japan Fears Being Left Behind

As Electric Cars’ Prospects Brighten, Japan Fears Being Left Behind
“What really puts Japan on the defensive is the idea
that the tech revolution is coming to the car industry,” said James Kondo, a visiting professor at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo who has worked with technology companies in the United States and Japan.
“If the world went all-E. V.
today, it would kill my business,” said Terry Nakatsuka, chief executive of Jatco, the company
that owns the transmission factory, using a shorthand term for electric vehicles.
Toyota said it would introduce 10 new electric models by the early 2020s, with the aim of selling one million all-electric vehicles a year by 2030.
Some in the industry, pointing to Tesla’s problems in expanding production, say big companies
like Toyota are ultimately better positioned to take electric vehicles to the mass market.
With 7,000 workers, Jatco is part of a vast ecosystem of carmakers and suppliers
that provides one in 10 Japanese jobs, accounts for a fifth of national exports and generates more profit than any other industry in Japan.
“The trend toward electric vehicles is growing, and sales are increasing,
but we can’t suddenly jump to E. V.s,” Hiroshige Seko, Japan’s industry minister, said in September, defending the government’s commitment to hydrogen.