Updated: Oct 25, 2022
The automotive industry in Japan is considered one of the best in manufacturing, production, innovation and advanced technology for the performance of their cars, since they have always been committed to changes and now they are also committed to replacing the usual gasoline with non-conventional and clean renewable energies.
By: Juan Diego Moreno Cruz – International Business Assistant Intern
It is sought that these alternatives be viable, having as an option electrically renewed combustion cars or those also known by the term "Hybrid" for their function of saving fuel and thus, having a better impact on the environment, reducing CO2 to global level. And if we go even further, pilots have already started with cars that run on green hydrogen, the cleanest energy known to move us so far.
For this reason, companies in this sector have been evolving over the years and creating a better product that is accepted for its good performance in long-term use.
What are electric cars?
These vehicles, different from the traditional ones, are powered by one or more electric motors, through renewable energies that provide faster and more continuous acceleration. They are up to 3 times more efficient than an internal combustion engine.
According to this definition, we can understand the reason why industries and their companies have started manufacturing this generation of alternative cars by creating a better product that satisfies their customers, contributes to environmental protection and new trends from the market.
What are hybrid cars?
They are vehicles that have engines powered by both gasoline and electricity and that are used intelligently according to the driving needs of the moment, making fuel saving their main attraction, which is why they are currently in such high demand around the world, because they could be called clean energy transition vehicles, combining the best of both worlds at this time and solving the current main problem of electric cars, which is recharging.
History, competition and current situation of electric cars in Japan
Since 2009, the launch of these electric vehicles began in the domestic market through the Mitsubishi brand with their i-MiEV model. Model for which their accumulated sales began in the following year with 10,423 units, this brand being the first to produce a totally different car in the traditional market.
In that same year, its infrastructure was positioned with 60 fast charging stations around the country. Currently, it has more than 40,000 stations. This is a novel and visionary investment that started a new era in automotive innovation creating new models and giving a progression to this invention.
After this new range of vehicles was unveiled, the local competition began to produce improvements, opening up a better market development for their products. Companies like Nissan, Honda and Toyota were among the first industries to bet on the new ecological era of automobiles.
In the following years since 2012, Japan was listed as the third largest manufacturer and seller of electric cars in the world, behind sales leaders such as the US and China, following the new trend of these vehicles and selling hybrid engines for generate a balance towards a gradual change.
As time went by, other iconic brands such as Suzuki, Daihatsu, Mazda, Subaru, Isuzu and Lexus were creating and implementing new strategies for adapting this new product and penetrating the market for a greater variety of it at a multinational and global level. .
These are some of the best-selling electric cars worldwide in 2022 (January to March):
Tesla Model Y
Tesla Model 3
Wuling Hongguang Mini EV
In international trade today, Nissan is the largest Japanese company that competes in this target market by selling models such as "Nissan Leaf" being 100% electric. According to a recent study in 2021 it generated unit sales of 85,988, which adds up to more than 500,000 units in total since its launch in 2010.
The demand for these cars is more by international buyers than national ones. Japanese manufacturers such as Honda, Toyota or Mitsubishi have delayed their production towards the total electrification of their cars, taking it along the path of a safer transition and not risking sales to the current market where demand is still directed at combustion vehicles and the hybrids.
Although this range of cars has not been fully industrialized in Japan, his forecast is that it is only a matter of time before electric vehicles can be the first option of its citizens and they have the luxury of taking advantage of their multiple benefits.
It is stated that the country of the rising sun continues to discover opportunities for new models of this type of car to expose its innovation and progressively increase its business scheme, seeking a result that exceeds the desired expectations, first succeeding locally and then being represented. internationally.
The future: Hydrogen-powered electric cars
If we are going to talk about clean energy for mobility leading to real decarbonization, we cannot fail to mention hydrogen, the most abundant element on earth and that Colombia already has pilot plans to convert it into electrical energy for automobiles.
To explain it in broad strokes, the water undergoes an electrolysis process that allows the separation of the hydrogen and oxygen molecules where the latter is released into the environment and the hydrogen stored to then feed the electric power generator batteries of the engines.
They are known as “fuel cell vehicles” (FCV). Since February of this year, OPEX, a company from the city of Medellin, has imported a Hyundai NEXO into Colombia, the first of its kind that is already rolling around our country as a test vehicle.
The alliance between Toyota and Ecopetrol for the production of green hydrogen
The Japanese company signed the agreement on July 18 with the Colombian company to carry out mobility tests over the next 3 years that will make it possible to analyze the behavior of hydrogen in terms of performance, efficiency and autonomy in its Toyota MIRAI model, as well as the business of the mobility that allows the expansion of this technology in Colombia and other countries of the world.
The daily production of hydrogen will take place in Cartagena, in the center of innovation and technology in the Caribbean, and it will be 20 kg of high-purity green hydrogen with a recharging system for buses and cars.
We can conclude then that electric cars are the key to changing the world towards cleaner, more efficient and sustainable energies over time, since the fossil fuels used today by the majority of transport vehicles represent a large percentage of the polluting agents of our planet, which we have to change if we want to preserve long-term life on earth. However, this change will not be immediate due to multiple factors, among which we can name the big oil business, the development of more efficient and durable batteries, the change in their recharging infrastructure, etc., from what we are seeing more and more hybrid cars that will surely evolve soon to fully electric ones and these in turn to technologies such as hydrogen batteries, seeking to be less polluting and cheaper, and Japan, as always, will be at the forefront of this global evolution .