I'm visiting Japan, spending a couple of weeks here with my in-laws.
I saw a two page newspaper spread on the Leaf here in Japan and I decided to check out how the economics for an EV work here in Japan.
FYI, current exchange rates are about 80¥/1US$, car is for 2011 MY (we think--surprisingly, the ad was quite vague on this). There are 1.6km in a mile.
Car's advertised price 3,764,250¥ (incl. sales tax) base model (3,585,000¥ before tax). Upgraded model: 4,060,359¥ (3,867,000¥ before tax). These prices are exclusive of a 985,000¥ rebate--I assume analagous to the US $7,500 tax rebate program, but since I can't read Japanese, I don't know who is giving this rebate.
Interestingly cars in Japan are subject to an annual "tax" (no one here is sure who is getting this revenue) based (traditionally on the engine displacement (CC's). Obviously, this is not applicable to an EV, but my brother-in-law feels it would be subject to the 30,000¥ per year rate, which is about middle of the road.
I took a look at the economics of electics here, out of curiosity. Regular gas sells for 140¥/L (this is equivalent to $6.62/gallon), so I thought that EV's would make even more sense than in the US. Surprisingly, peak rate electricity is even more expensive compared to home here than the gas! Peak electricity rates (outside of Kobe/Osaka) run 32¥/kWh (compared to 0.1075$/kWh renewable wind electricity in the Seattle area--price/kWh is roughly 4x!).
Good news though is at nighttime rates in Japan fall to 8.1¥/kWh (my rates don't vary with time of day back home). So, assuming timer based nighttime charging (after 11pm) was OK, even with the high taxes and fees the economics should be at least as compelling as back home:
Cost to drive 100km (calculated assuming a 140km range and 24kWh capacity--note that the car here is advertised as having 200km of range--that's 120 miles--clearly a stretch) @ 8.1¥/kWh: 139¥
Cost to drive ICE 100km assuming a generous 25km/L efficiency: 560¥.
In Japan, an EV driver can expect to save at least 3.61¥/km driven: for an annual 20,000km driven, this represents a savings of 72,200¥, or ~900US$ each year.
I found this interesting, so I thought I'd share.
Off to a Japanese Nissan dealership next week to see if there are any Japanese Leaf accessories I can snag and put on my Leaf back home...