Japan eyes reward points for electric driving

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
The Environment Ministry In Chiyoda ward, Tokyo.

Tokyo (Jiji Press) — The Environment Ministry is considering creating a system to grant reward points to owners of electrified vehicles for the amount of carbon dioxide emissions they reduce by using them.

The ministry hopes that the system will give vehicle owners an incentive to switch to electrified models and improve the fuel efficiency of their vehicles through careful driving, officials said.

The ministry plans to hold a demonstration test in fiscal 2023 starting next April, aiming to launch the system as early as fiscal 2024.

The system will cover electric vehicles, as well as gasoline-electric hybrid and plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Reward points would be granted according to the amounts of CO2 emissions the owners reduced through fuel-efficient driving and battery charging using renewable energy, compared with emissions from gasoline vehicles.

Amounts of reduced emissions from vehicles participating in the system would be estimated from data collected from the GPS and charging spots.

The government would certify the amounts reduced as credits under the J-Credit Scheme.

The credits would be sold, and then the proceeds would be distributed to vehicle owners according to the amounts they reduced, via businesses and others that offer reward point programs.

The owners would be able to use the acquired points at various places, such as retailers, restaurants and online shopping sites.

The government aims to raise the share of electrified vehicles in new passenger vehicle sales to 100% by 2035, up from 45.6% in the first half of fiscal 2022. For electric vehicles alone, the share was only 1.9%.

The ministry hopes to promote the spread of electrified vehicle through the reward point system. It will consider asking companies to partially cover the costs of the points.