Turkish electric bus maker eyes Japanese market

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An electric bus manufactured by Turkish automaker Karsan is displayed in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Thursday.

A major Turkish commercial vehicle manufacturer has started surveying the Japanese market with a view to putting its electric buses on the market here.

Chinese electric buses currently dominate the Japanese market, so Karsan’s potential entry into the field and emergence as a serious competitor is attracting considerable attention.

Karsan has sold hundreds of electric buses in at least 20 nations around the world, but it has yet to enter Japan’s market. The company will, until spring next year, survey local governments and bus companies regarding the features and price ranges they desire for electric buses. JR Bus Kanto Co. will assist Karsan with maintenance and inspection services.

The Turkish firm will determine whether there is demand for its 5.8-meter-long buses, which are shorter than conventional buses widely used in Japan.

Demand for electric buses is expected to grow in Japan as the nation moves toward becoming a decarbonized society.

According to the Automobile Inspection and Registration Information Association, there were only 149 electric buses in Japan as of March. The majority of these buses were made by Chinese automakers such as BYD.

Among Japanese automakers, Hino Motors, Ltd. plans to enter the domestic electric bus market but will outsource production to BYD.