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Mitsubishi Motors Corporation and Japan Delivery System Corporation Develop EV Charging System for Apartment Buildings in Japan

Over view of the i-CHARGER system. Click to enlarge.

Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (MMC) and Japan Delivery System Corporation (JDS) have jointly developed an electric vehicle (EV) charging system for apartment complexes. The system, called i-CHARGER, is to be sold by JDS starting 1 December.

Installation and management of EV charging infrastructure for shared parking lots of apartment complexes is an issue in Japan for the popularization of electric vehicles. The i-CHARGER addresses this problem by utilizing existing “delivery box” systems. A “delivery box” is a system of lockers that allow for delivery or sending of packages when tenants are not at home. The “delivery box” notifies tenants when a package has arrived, and the package can be retrieved by the tenant by PIN code or verification card.

These systems were first introduced to the apartment building market 15 years ago, and are now often installed in new apartment buildings. JDS is involved in the management, sales, and construction of “delivery box” systems for apartment complexes in Japan and holds a 40% market share.

Utilizing the authentication capability of the “delivery box” system, the i-CHARGER can manage who, when, and how much electricity was used, making it easy for apartment complex supervisors to sort out electricity usage of the building’s tenants.

At present the i-CHARGER is aimed at apartment complex residents who own an electric vehicle, however once the reservation system that is currently under development is completed, electric vehicle sharing in apartment complexes becomes possible, greatly contributing to the spread of charging infrastructure.

The i-CHARGER, applying the security, user management and tenant verification capabilities of the “delivery box” system can provide the following functions in conjunction with electric charging equipment:

  • When a tenant uses their “delivery box” verification card over the main charging unit, the outlet unit installed at the parking space is activated, allowing for charging of the user’s electric vehicle.

  • The charging time is calculated and managed by the “delivery box,” allowing for the building supervisor to charge the correct electricity fees to the correct tenant.

  • The same 24-hour toll-free support line for the “delivery box” system will be made available for charger support as well.

There are also plans to develop a stand-alone unit that is not dependent on a “delivery box” system.



The "delivery box" sounds like a workable system. I am not sure if it is really needed for the charging. Wouldn't a power meter that can read a card, ala ATMs, do as well?

But for package and mail delivery it does require some uniformity. The Post Office and delivery firms would both need access in the US. I don't know how that is handled in Japan.

On the plus side, I like systems that are proved, they have used it for packages for 15 years in Japan.

In the US colleges dorms seem like a natural place to use the delivery box application.


Why not just make it take coins - the Japanese have y100 and y500 coins which would do.

Otherwise use a prepaid card like a phone card (remember them?).

A y100 coin would probably get about 10 KwH which would do for 40 miles (sorry about the unit switching).

You could have all the usual "charge after 11pm" stuff for load smoothing, but it strikes me that keeping it as simple as possible will help rollout.

The more organizations that have to get involved, the longer it will take. Better to get systems out there and see what works rather than trying to perfect it in a vacuum.


Shared power lines, metering and charge/billing devices could reduce the per e-car installation cost of essential charging system in most appartment or condo buildings.

Separate power lines, meters and timers are not really justified and too costly.

Idealy, one higher voltage (440 VAC) 3-phase heavier cable could feed enough energy for 50+ e-car on slow (2 to 2.5 Kwh) over-night charge.


It seems like a bluetooth pay pass or access code might suffice.
If you have to get out and plug it in, an access code might be the simplest method. I like the idea of apartments and condos having this. Toll roads have pay pass transponders, so maybe that could be used for public parking spaces.

Bob Wallace

Build the code into the vehicle. Give the driver some push button options on the dash "fill'er up quick/half a tank/allow V2G", plug in and go away.

Make the controller accessible by cell phone/internet so that charge levels can be adjusted and current charge can be read.


I agree with Bob Wallace. Cards are an unnecessary hassle. The car can do the identification.


Would a cordless charging element/coil, embedded into the garage floor, be more practical. Electrified cars parked over the active element would be automatically identitied, batteries charged and automatically billed to your bank account or credit card. No plug, no cord, no hassles.


Inductive charging could be done with a rubber pad laid on the concrete garage floor. In apartments, they might need to be more embedded so that people do not tamper with or steal them, but it can be done. The more convenient you make the produce to use, the more likely it is to be used in greater numbers saving more fuel.

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