Japanese Automakers Call G7 Attention to Various Decarbonized Vehicles

Yomiuri Shimbun photos
Top: Suzuki Motor President Toshihiro Suzuki shows an electric minivan on Friday in Hiroshima.
Bottom: Toyota Motor’s synthetic fuel-powered GR 86

The Japan Automobile Manufacturers Association (JAMA) held an exhibition featuring decarbonized vehicles in Hiroshima during the recent summit of the Group of Seven nations. It exhibited 35 models including electric vehicles (EVs) and hydrogen vehicles, emphasizing various decarbonization technologies.

JAMA argues that to solve climate change issues, the international community should cooperate while taking into account factors such as the different energy situations among countries and regions.

Joint development

The exhibition was held from Friday to Sunday at the newly opened Hiroshima Gate Park Plaza, which was built on the site of the former Hiroshima municipal baseball stadium in central Hiroshima. A sign at the entrance said, “Diversity in carbon neutrality.”

An electric minivan for commercial purposes jointly developed by Suzuki Motor Corp., Daihatsu Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. attracted particular attention. The three automakers aim to launch the vehicle within this fiscal year and unveiled it for the first time.

The vehicles are expected to be used for last-mile deliveries, the very last step of the delivery process, ending at the customer’s doorstep. The cruising range per charge is approximately 200 kilometers. Suzuki Motor President Toshihiro Suzuki said: “The three companies shared their own knowledge and wisdom. Technological exchange is essential to growing the EV [business].”

Toyota Motor also unveiled a sports car powered by synthetic fuels and a hydrogen-powered Corolla. It also exhibited the sport utility vehicle RZ, the first dedicated EV model under the high-end Lexus brand.

Among other exhibits were a new electric scooter model by Honda Motor Co. and a biofuel vehicle by Mazda Motor Corp. while Nissan Motor Co. introduced a method to use the batteries aboard its Sakura mini EV to supply electricity to homes during blackouts.

Honda Motor President Toshihiro Mibe, who visited the venue, said, “There are many guests from overseas and the event provides us with a great opportunity to promote [our technologies and vehicles].”

Communicate with world

JAMA held the exhibition to coincide with the G7 summit because the United States and European countries have been putting effort into expanding the use of EVs to decarbonize the automobile industry.

Japan, however, takes the position that decarbonizing the industry should be promoted by all possible means — including hybrid vehicles, an area where Japanese automakers have strength. Also, in countries and regions that heavily rely on thermal power generation, the spread of EVs might not necessarily be good for the environment.

The JAMA calls for the need to have various options in light of such considerations.