RURIKA IMAHASHI, Nikkei staff writer
TOKYO — Nissan Motor is teaming up with trading house Sumitomo Corp. to offer electric vehicles and renewable energy to Japanese cities working toward carbon neutrality, the companies announced Wednesday.
Nissan, Sumitomo and Sumitomo Mitsui Auto Service on the same day concluded a decarbonization support agreement. The three companies will work together to provide EVs, car-sharing systems for residents and renewable energy to municipalities.
The move comes as more local governments in Japan set net-zero emissions goals amid a nationwide push for decarbonization.
As of 2019, only four local governments had set net-zero targets. At present, 492 municipalities across Japan have vowed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. These cities make up about 90% of Japan’s population.
The three companies said they will offer municipalities the expertise they need to decarbonize.
Nissan said that it has 10 years of experience making electric vehicles since the launch of its Leaf model in 2010, and that has helped municipalities switch to the Leaf to help them reduce their environmental impact. Nissan has collaborated with more than 150 local governments and companies as part of this effort, the automaker said.
Through the new initiative, Nissan aims to introduce EVs at city facilities and set up car-sharing bases for residents.
Sumitomo said it has been involved in solar and wind power worldwide, giving the trading house a range of knowledge and skills in introducing renewable energy.
“We will develop renewable energy that is most suited to each community, and want to realize locally oriented, local-consumption decarbonization models,” said Sumitomo CEO Masayuki Hyodo.
The companies believe they can help local governments set up local production and consumption of renewable energy and ultimately switch all power sources for EVs to renewables.
Nissan and Sumitomo have been cooperating on battery recycling as well. The two companies launched a joint venture in 2010 called 4R Energy that focuses on auto battery recycling. Although he did not provide details, Nissan CEO Makoto Uchida said he wants to “broaden the range of the business,” according to the needs of each municipality.
The companies did not say which municipality will be their first customer or when they will start offering decarbonization assistance. They said they will talk to different cities to gauge their interest.
Nissan last month unveiled its “Nissan Ambition 2030” plan, outlining its long-term goals and investment strategy for battery development and the rollout of EVs. Uchida said the plan focuses on expanding the possibilities of future societies and the values that Nissan can offer to foster mobility and more.
“Since the announcement of Nissan Ambition 2030, we have been asked, ‘What are your concrete actions or plans?'” said Uchida. “This is the very first action today. From now on, we can show you what values we can offer and how it will lead to new businesses.”