Together with courier service Yamato Transport, several Japanese automakers plan to develop an exchangeable battery system for commercial electric vans.
Standardized removable battery system for electric vans
Japanese courier service Yamato Transport and Commercial Japan Partnership Technologies Corporation (CJPT) are working together to standardize interchangeable and rechargeable battery cassettes for commercial electric vehicles.
That’s according to the announcement from automaker Toyota. Together, this is expected to reduce the cost of battery packs while promoting widespread availability of uniform battery packs.
The rollout, however, faces several challenges. For example, it will be necessary to explore how to minimize the additional downtime caused by recharging batteries and how to manage the increased demand for electricity at peak times, when many vehicles need to be powered at the same time.
However, Toyota says there are many advantages associated with a unified system. On the one hand, the initial cost of battery-powered vehicles would decrease, since they would all use the same battery. At the same time, the effort required to install appropriate charging infrastructure would also be minimized, while the overall charging time would be reduced.
Green ecosystem for delivery transportation
The Commercial Japan Partnership (CJP), launched by Toyota just last year, aims to spur development of electric commercial vehicles with replaceable batteries. Logistics company Yamato Transport is working on a “green ecosystem for delivery transportation”that also includes all of the company’s transportation and delivery partners.
In addition to Toyota, commercial vehicle manufacturers Isuzu and Hino, and passenger vehicle manufacturers Suzuki and Daihatsu are part of the CJPT whose goal is to achieve carbon neutrality through connected, autonomous, safe and electrified technologies.
Yamato Transport is also exploring the possibility of how the new standardized removable battery systems could provide power in disaster areas, for example. In the process, the company is also jointly looking for new partners to provide a pathway for its own contribution to carbon neutrality in society.
At the start last year, the CJPT focused primarily on the so-called Kei Cars. 31 million of these miniature vehicles are on the road in Japan. Out of a total of 78 million vehicles. Thus they mark an important part in the traffic of Japan, which one wants to hurry now with the focus from electronic commercial vehicles additionally to the side.
Electric vans: joint push by automakers
Toyota, Suzuki and Daihatsu are jointly developing an all-electric van under the umbrella of the CJPT to further drive CO2 reduction in the van segment. The e-utility vehicle is scheduled to be launched in the current fiscal year 2023, i.e. by March 31, 2023.
It is to be used primarily for online deliveries, parcel delivery or craft businesses, which together currently account for around 60 percent of the total commercial vehicle fleet.
Above all, the electric van is also intended to be affordable while meeting the requirements of commercial customers. CJPT is responsible for the planning, while Daihatsu, Suzuki and Toyota are jointly developing a fully electric drive system for the electric van.
The vehicle will initially be used by partners in Japan as part of social projects in Fukushima Prefecture and Tokyo. If the project is successful, however, it will probably only be a matter of time before it is expanded to the global market.
Hopefully, production will be spared cyberattacks. These had paralyzed Toyota’s factories in March 2022. The automaker had launched its electric bZ4X brand in June, which was hit by a recall a short time later due to screws coming loose.