After living in Toyota City for a year, I saw a lot of Toyota’s latest technology (like the Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid, see the link for photos of the car and its solar powered charging station) long before it hits the commercial markets in Japan and around the world.

While driving along the Shin Tomei Expressway on a trip to Shizuoka, we stopped in at a rest stop. Japanese highway rest stops are awesome, they are very big and have lots of great food on offer. At this particular rest stop was something I hadn’t seen before… an EV Quick Charging Point for use by electric vehicles.

EV Quick Charging Point in Japan
DMC-LX3 (5.1mm, f/4, 1/1000 sec, ISO80)
EV Quick Charging Point in Japan

The charging point is similar in shape to a normal fuel dispenser. To use the charging point, instead of paying cash, a special card is needed. Swipe the card, charge away and enjoy the best parking spot in the entire rest area!

Since 2009 Japan has been commercially selling plug-in electric vehicles (both hybrids and fully electric engines). According to Wikipedia’s sources, the following plug-in electrics are available in Japan (shown in order of popularity):

  • Nissan Leaf
  • Toyota Prius PHV (Plug-in Hybrid)
  • Mitsubishi Outlander P-HEV
  • Mitsubishi i-MiEV
  • Mitsubishi Minicab MiEV van
  • Mitsubishi Minicab MiEV truck
  • Honda Accord Plug-in Hybrid (actual sales figures not available)

Check out the very cool Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid and its solar powered charging station on display in Toyota city.