Gachaco accelerates building of EV battery-swapping stations in Japan

Louise Lu, Taipei; Yusin Hu, DIGITIMES Asia 0

Credit: AFP

The Gachaco alliance formed by Japanese carmakers Yamaha, Honda, Suzuki, and Kawasaki and energy company Eneos plans to build battery-swapping stations in 2022 to serve 200 electric scooters.

The number of stations will be expanded to accomodate 1,000 electric scooters in 2023, but the Gachaco battery-swapping alliance, formed on April 1 2022, has not disclosed the exact number of stations it will build.

Eneos reportedly holds 51% of the stakes in Gachaco, while Honda owns 34% of the joint venture. Yamaha, Suzuki, and Kawasaki each holds 5%.

Honda has recently unveiled a US$40 billion investment plan for EV. Honda president Mibe Toshihiro has said the carmaker is putting more efforts in developing new tech to bring people more choices of transportation, not limited to electric vehicle.

In addition, Honda is investing JPY5 trillion (US$37.7 billion) in developing electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft, robots, and space tech.

According to public information, Honda plans to bring the proportion of EV in its product portfolio from 20% to 70% by 2025.

Standardizing specifications under Gachaco

Industry sources said new players in the industry are able to focus on providing services and expanding coverage of charging stations without needing to produce or promote electric vehicles as demand and penetration of EV has surged.

The carmakers will be building and sharing the same specification under Gachaco, while optimizing their vehicles each on its own.

Gachaco said the first stage will be building battery-swapping stations around convenience stores and Eneos-affiliated gas stations in Tokyo, starting this fall.

Sources said Japanese carmakers have high hopes for the domestic growth of electric scooters to take off. Sharing a standardized specification of battery and charging infrastructure will solve most problems that first-movers in the industry may often face.