Tsunami-engulfed Fukushima prefecture is the target of an electric vehicle transport program


The world knows the coastal cities of Sendai and Fukushima because of the March 11, 2011 event. A magnitude 9 earthquake off Sendai sent Pacific Ocean waters into the Japanese island’s interior, engulfing several towns and damaging the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant with a massive surge of water reaching 50 feet high, causing meltdowns in three reactors.

Now, 11 years later, the Fukushima Prefectural government has transformed from a nuclear power plant location to a leader in renewable energy development. This happened because many areas of the city remained abandoned land due to the radioactivity that poured out from the damaged nuclear power plant.

When Fukushima Prefecture’s renewable energy program started 3 years after the disaster, it set a goal of 100% renewable energy by 2040. Today, about 40% of its electricity comes from currently 11 solar farms and 10 wind farms located on contaminated or abandoned land. A total of $2.75 billion has so far been spent on renewable energy to achieve this goal of carbon neutrality and “no nuclear power”.

On July 19, Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT) Chairman Hiroki Nakajima announced the social implementation of an energy management system in Fukushima Prefecture by January 2023, to promote the widespread use of electrified vehicles. This program was eventually to infiltrate Tokyo.

The idea of ​​generalization (the goal is 100% electric vehicles) is in line with Fukushima’s revitalization plan, which aimed to “create a safe and secure society, and one that can continue to develop without depending on nuclear energy”. During the city’s reconstruction phase, renewable energies were at the center of its development plan, to make full use of the areas damaged by radioactive waste, considered unusable “for hundreds of years”.

Thus, the goal of Fukushima’s renewable energy promotion vision is to “have 100% of energy demand met by renewable energy by approximately 2040”. Programs include accelerating the creation of related industries to become a “leading region” for renewable energy.

It’s not hard to see why the CJPT chose Fukushima to pilot its social implementation plan for commercial vehicles.

“Electrified commercial vehicles will be introduced in this social implementation project, including heavy-duty fuel cell electric trucks (Heavy Duty FC Electric Trucks) for mainline transportation and commercial minivan electric vehicles (Minivans commercial vehicles BEV) for last mile deliveries. In addition, energy management integrated with the management of commercial vehicle operations will lead to reductions in the overall burden on society and in CO2 emissions,” said the CPJT in a press release.

Since April 2021, CJPT has been considering initiatives at logistics sites such as Fukushima to help achieve a carbon-neutral society and reduce the burden on drivers and workers. By accelerating the spread of CASE – an acronym the group uses to stand for “connected” cars, “autonomous/automated”, “shared” and “electric” driving.

To promote the widespread use of electrified vehicles, shippers, logistics companies, infrastructure providers, automakers, and other related partners need to come together to address sustainability with a hands-on approach. After repeated discussions with many people from various industries, it was decided to start social implementation projects in Fukushima and Tokyo.

Through this initiative, CJPT will accentuate the movement towards carbon neutrality for the whole of society and, together with its partners, will address the challenges it faces as opportunities for industrial development and strengthening international competitiveness.

This social implementation, which aims to commercialize an energy management system and exploit it in the real world, is partly carried out under the name of “Green Innovation Fund/Building Smart Mobility Society”, a subsidized project by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO), a national research and development agency.

CJPT also understands that the introduction of commercial electric vehicles places a burden on users, not only in terms of purchasing vehicles, but also in terms of downtime of goods and vehicles due to charging (and filling of hydrogen) as well as an increase in peak electricity demand from activity sites due to an uneven charging schedule.

This is why the entire program involves the deployment of an energy management system integrated into operational management that links each vehicle used in the program to electric charging stations and filling infrastructures. of hydrogen. Rely heavily on operational management data to reduce downtime by optimizing the vehicle’s remaining battery/hydrogen level and taking into account the amount of charging and timing of electrified vehicles at commercial and in-process sites road, while taking into account the energy consumption of buildings as well as delivery plans to equalize the overall electricity demand at the sites of activity of shippers and logistics companies.

The program can also encourage and support Fukushima businesses in renewable energy, taking into account renewable energy produced with non-polluting electric vehicles. This program starts in January 2023 until the end of 2029 and will involve the deployment of nearly 600 electric vehicles of various sizes and powered by both pure batteries and fuel cells.

Image via Wikipedia Commons, (CC BY 3.0 DE license)


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