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Leafs in Japan

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:39 pm
by bradleygibson
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... :)

Take care,
Brad

Re: Leafs in Japan

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:42 pm
by mwalsh
Take many pictures! :)

Re: Leafs in Japan

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 5:48 pm
by bradleygibson
Of Leafs, the dealership, or of Japan? ;)

Re: Leafs in Japan

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:02 pm
by Herm
Yes..

I'm also curious about the speed limits on the roads and highways.

Re: Leafs in Japan

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 6:07 pm
by mwalsh
bradleygibson wrote:Of Leafs, the dealership, or of Japan? ;)
All of the above would work for me! :)

Re: Leafs in Japan

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 8:20 pm
by linkim
bradleygibson wrote: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!).
Did the peak electricity rate increase because of the spring tsunami/earthquake/nuclear problems? Perhaps the utilities are intentionally increasing peak rates to push usage to the evening/night hours.

Re: Leafs in Japan

Posted: Fri Aug 26, 2011 10:40 pm
by GoSolar
I just got back from Japan! (I also have lived there over 10 years in total).

Try to go to the Nissan world HQ and gallery just behind Yokohama station (behind SOGO dept store) and check out the accessories and cars. Ask them while you're there about signing up for a factory visit in Oppama, about 20 minutes by train from Yokohama. (Better yet if you have a Japanese person call in advance and ask.)
Image

Try to catch a LEAF taxi by Yokohama Station!

In a different thread I posted the entire list of options in Japan for the LEAF. With the dollar so weak, they're fairly pricey these days.

The annual tax is the "Road Tax". It goes to help pay for the infrastructure. Traditionally it's been based on two things: engine displacement and weight. They figure that the engine displacement will give a fairly good indication of air pollution and fuel economy and that the weight is directly related to roadway wear and tear. I'm not positive how they're handling the engine size aspect, but guess that its a 'free ride' for that portion of the tax.

BTW, the road taxes go UP as your car gets older whereas in US mostly they go down. Why? Because older engines are 'more likely' to pollute more, because older vehicles were statistically more likely to be involved in accidents, and because raising the taxes as cars get older structurally puts an incentive into getting new cars which is good for the economy and jobs.

If you go to the HQ, check out the Nissan Fuga: it's a diesel-electric hybrid that looks pretty good.
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Enjoy your stay!

Re: Leafs in Japan

Posted: Sat Aug 27, 2011 6:31 am
by linkim
GoSolar wrote:Try to catch a LEAF taxi by Yokohama Station!
The taxis in Japan are clean, but expensive. I took a taxi from Oppama Station to the Oppama Nissan site, about 1.5 miles, and the cost was the equivalent of about $10US. On a cool day, the walk is nice.

I assume there is no differential in cost for the Leaf taxi compared to ICE taxi.

Re: Leafs in Japan

Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:34 pm
by bradleygibson
Hi, herm, mwalsh,

I've yet to see a Leaf over here; I've been here a week now. I plan to hit the dealership today, and I'll take some photos while I'm there.

Herm,
We did a 200km road trip with the family (15 people, total!) over the past couple of days--highway speeds were 100km/h but people will drive at 120km/h fairly commonly. Some highways were 90km/h, but we didn't see many of these. City speeds vary from 40-60km/h, and residential areas will be down around 15-20km/h.

Linkim,
Yes power rates did increase here, and we are a few hours southwest of Tokyo (Kobe/Osaka area). Even looking at their bills, the family doesn't know by how much. I don't think they doubled or anything, the families don't seem angry or shocked, but this is definitely a cultural difference. They seem to feel "it's necessary", so they just pay. I think in the West we'd be more skeptical and questioning of an increase, even if due to a large-scale natural disaster.

GoSolar,

Thank you for the great information! It was your posting of the Leaf accessories in Japan that got me curious to see for myself. If I can make time, I would love to do the tour--I'll see what I can do--thanks again!

Re: Leafs in Japan

Posted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 8:37 pm
by garygid
Try to find out how to buy the Nissan-QC machine,
its technial an installation specs, and how much it costs.