Japan Plans to Spend $1.72 Billion Over 5 Years to Spur Development of Low-Carbon Powertrains and Fuels
Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) plans to spend ¥209 billion (US$1.72 billion) over five years, beginning in the current fiscal year, to support the development of next-generation powertrains and fuels to cut petroleum consumption and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.
The plan, called “an initiative to develop next-generation automobiles and fuels”, focuses on five primary areas: batteries for hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles; hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles; clean diesel vehicles; biofuels, including second-generation biofuels; and infrastructure and intelligent traffic management. More than three-quarters of the proposed spending is directed toward hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles, with batteries and clean diesel coming in for approximately equivalent shares for the remaining funds.
The plan, which METI would like to have included in the government’s spending guidelines for 2007 due out in June, has the support of the Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association and the Petroleum Association of Japan.
Elements of the plan include:
Batteries. METI sees battery development as critical to hybrids (HEV), plug-in hybrids (PHEV), electric vehicles (EV) and hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles (FCV). The ministry proposes spending ¥24.5 billion (US$201 million) over the period to develop next-generation batteries leading to the development of full-function battery-electric vehicles that would outperform existing models at one-fortieth of the cost by 2030.
METI Battery R&D Targets 2007 2010 2015 2020 2030 Application Small EV Commuter EV
“Real” EV Efficiency 1 1 1.5 3 7 Cost ¥200,000/kWh
Hydrogen fuel-cell vehicles. METI would like to spend ¥160 billion (US$1.3 billion) on research and development with the target of fuel-cell vehicles costing the same as gasoline-powered vehicles by 2030.
Clean diesel. METI’s proposed ¥24 billion (US$197 million) for clean diesel would focus on the development of fuels such as gas-to-liquids (GTL) and hydrogenated bio-oil as well as powertrain developments.
Biofuels. The biofuels element of the plan did not carry a spending allocation on release. METI says that it plans to accelerate the development of next generation biofuels through working with academia nd industry. Through such efforts, METI is targeting a reduction in the price of domestically-produced biofuels from the current level of ¥150-180 per liter to ¥100/liter by 2015 and ¥40/liter thereafter.
Infrastructure and Traffic Management. METI will work with other stakeholders to improve the road infrastructure and develop more intelligent toll station and traffic light management with the goal of increasing the average travelling speed in Tokyo. Currently, traffic moves in Tokyo at an average speed of 18 kph, compared to an average 26 kph in Paris. METI would like to double the speed by 2030.