I had an opportunity to hear two presentations on vehicle electrification at a symposium last week. The first presenter was an engine engineering authority Yasuhiro Daisho, who is specially appointed professor of Waseda University and is engaged in several projects related to mobility. He spoke about trends of advanced countries’ policies and regulations, strategies of car makers and some issues in order to gear up the electrification. However, it’s a familiar content for me. His conclusion about the electrification in Japan is too early as of now. There is room to improve the engine technology more so cars using internal combustion engines will exist even in 20 years later.
Another presenter was General Manager of BYD’s Asia Pacific Auto Sales Division Liu Xueliang. BYD was established as battery manufacturer 23 years ago, and has now four business units including IT, automotive, environment and energy, and monorail. It has been dealing with air pollution and traffic congestion by electrification of public transportation. It began an electric bus project with 200 EV busses in 12 million population Shenzhen China in 2011. At first, no one believed it would be succeeded. However, the project is going to finish at the end of this year by replacing all engine busses to 16,000 EV ones. Now the electric busses of BYD are accepted at more than 250 cities in 50 countries.
It was an obvious contrast. Population of Japan is 10 times of Shenzhen. If ten similar projects of Shenzhen took place, engine busses in Japan would be replaced to EV buses in several years, and it would prompt electrification of cars. It is a quicker growth case than a conservative projection. I think it’s a latest topic how quicker the electric vehicles will spread than we expect.