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Tokyo one-ups rest of Japan with 2030 electric vehicle goal

  • December 8, 2020
  • , Nikkei Asia , 7:36 p.m.
  • English Press

TOKYO — Tokyo has set a goal for all new cars sold in the city to be hybrids or electric vehicles by 2030, Gov. Yuriko Koike said in a meeting of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on Tuesday, declaring that the onus is on the world’s major cities to limit greenhouse gas emissions.


Japan’s capital has already committed to reducing greenhouse gas emissions to virtually zero by 2050. In a previous step toward this, it set a goal that 50% of new cars sold must be hybrids or electric vehicles by 2030, and has been working to subsidize the cost of these cars.


Now Tokyo has decided to accelerate its timetable.


Koike stressed that it is the responsibility of big cities to commit to cleaner skies. She also announced a goal of eliminating new sales of gasoline-powered motorcycles by 2035.


“We are going to be 100% non-gasoline and lead the global trend,” Koike stressed.


Separately, the government of Japan is looking to set a goal of ending sales of gasoline only fueled cars by the mid-2030s.


Tokyo’s goal puts it five years ahead of the national plans as the city aims to lead the way in promoting efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Tokyo will “request” that automobile manufacturers comply with its policy, rather than implement regulations to enforce it. There will be no penalties, but companies are likely to try to meet the city’s goals, knowing that their reputation is at stake.


Toyota Motor has said that all new vehicles will be equipped with electric vehicle functions (including hybrid models) by 2025. Nissan also plans to increase the ratio of electric vehicles in Japan to 60% by fiscal 2023. Automakers may be pressured to bring forward their targets in response to Tokyo’s announcement.


But Tokyo’s move could be problematic for the manufacturers of compact vehicles that have not invested in the development of EV technology. Daihatsu Motor, which has the fourth largest share of the market by domestic sales, only produces pure gasoline vehicles for its key compact car lineup. Analysts said the policy will likely drive efforts to acquire hybrid or electric vehicle technology through alliances.


Some automakers are complaining that Tokyo had not consulted or coordinated the industry before launching its plans. A Honda executive said: “The trend toward electrification is correct in the medium-to long term, but this is hasty.”


Another executive at a different carmaker said the company would not be able to meet the 2030 deadline.

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