Osaka is one of the cities chosen for the second stage of the Japanese EV demonstration run. By the end of March 2011, the number of the EVs successfully introduced by the Osaka Prefectural Government to its Taxi fleet topped 50, making Osaka rank at the top of all of Japan’s cities. In fact, the Osaka Prefectural Government had already finalized its direction of EV launch strategy in 2009. It has planned to turn Osaka into a new energy city rich in water resources by 2025. With the goal, it has unfolded the annual plan covering respective years. For EVs, it has planned to build Osaka City into the leading city in the promotion of EVs by 2019, and hopes that, by 2020, all cars driven in Osaka will be eco cars. Hence, it has put forward the specific city planning as per Fig. 1 below for turning Osaka City into an EV town between 2010 and 2017:
The Osaka Prefectural Government has planned to divide the period between 2010 and 2017 into three stages, in which the 1st stage, 2010-2011, was primarily for the initial promotion of EV prevalence and construction of power charging equipment. The 2nd stage, 2012-2016, is mainly for introducing EVs into the social transportation for mass operating and turning Osaka City into the production foothold of the new energy industry. The 3rd stage will be conducted in 2017 and after, for which the main goal is to attain deep and wide penetration of EVs in public transportation and private cars, and cluster the new energy industry to a significant scale in Osaka.
To introduce EVs, the Osaka Prefectural Government has put forth various stimulus programs to promote EVs and establish power charging stations in the past two years. The following is the explanation of those programs.
Osaka Prefectural Government’s program to launch EV promotion
The goals set by the Osaka Prefectural Government are that, by 2015, the number of EVs plus PHEVs shall reach 12,000; by 2017, 50% of driven taxies and newly registered private cars in Osaka will be EVs; and by 2020, the total number of EVs plus PHEVs in Osaka shall top 52,000. The Osaka Prefectural Government has laid down an integrated EV promotion program as per Fig. 2 below:
To foster popularity of EVs and reinforce EV introduction, the Osaka Prefectural Government has offered substantive subsidization in expenses and parking convenience. For car purchase subsidization, the Government selected 32 taxi firms to jointly introduce 50 EVs into their taxi fleets, in which the selected taxi firms could receive a max. subsidy of one million yen for each EV they have introduced. In addition, the Government has also set EV exclusive parking spaces at JR Osaka station and Umeda station for customers to conveniently take the EV. At the same time, the EV parking fee at the parking lot installed by the prefectural government is 50% off the regular price and the Government also provides 50% off for EV’s ETC fee within the prefecture.
As for marketing, the activities have included the electric taxi appearance design contest for achieving concerted appearance of the 50 electric taxies, and promotion of free-riding of electric taxies from Feb 15th through Mar. 9th in 2011 to enhance the public’s awareness of EVs.
Osaka Prefectural Government’s launch program of EV power charging station installation
Convenience of power charging is a requisite to enhance consumer acceptance of using EVs. That is why the Osaka Prefectural Government has aggressively worked on establishing power charging stations. By May 2011, the Osaka Prefectural Government had completed 137 regular power charging stations, in which 55 of them provide free power charging, while the charge is about 200 - 210 yen per hour at other regular power charging stations. Regarding the quick power charging station, by June 2011, the Government had completed 23 stations; it has planned to complete 33 quick power charging stations by 2015, and finish 1,300 regular power charging stations by 2020.
The Osaka Prefectural Government has also set up the OSNEC fund to offer subsidies for the private sector to build power charging stations between 2010 and 2012, in which 1/2 of the power charging installation cost has been subsidized and the max. subsidy of each project is no more than 150,000 yen.
Reference for Taiwan’s promotion of its smart EV demonstration run
The Industrial Development Bureau of Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs has planned a 3-year 3,000 smart EV pilot project. The dense population and short-distance city transportation give Taiwan the edge in developing EVs. Osaka is one of Japan’s major cities. The programs it has put forth are mainly for creating an EV town. It has set up its goals for the respective stages. In addition to promoting EVs, it has also included power charging station establishment and storage cell empirical experiment in its integrated planning.
Many county/city governments in Taiwan show great interest in smart EV demonstration operation. The way that the Osaka Prefectural Government has promoted its EVs and the various programs launched by it can be adopted by Taiwan’s county/city governments as reference for formulating related promotion policies.
In addition to promoting EVs, power charging facilities are the key focus of the plan
Besides promoting EVs, the Osaka Prefectural Government has also been actively establishing power charging facilities. Currently, the number of EVs plus PHEVs in Osaka has reached 200, while more than 150 power charging stations have been established. Moreover, the Osaka Prefectural Government has also offered subsidies for establishing power charging stations; some of the power charging stations provide free power charging. Such a move will pave the way for the upcoming mass prevalence of EVs, so the infrastructure can be well constructed prior to the mass launching of EVs. On the other hand, offering free power charging at some stations for the current stage may provide consumers with tempting impetus to purchase EVs. Thus, Taiwan should also include the establishment of power charging stations into its integrated planning of EV promotion, and be more aggressive in station establishment and deployment. By so doing, Taiwan can then effectively expel its people’s misgivings about EVs and enhance their intention to purchase EVs.