JAMA, the Japan Automobile Manufacturer’s Association, has released their 2010 report Building in America. According to their statistics, Japanese car companies provide employment for 400,000 Americans from all 50 states. Manufacturing investment in the U.S. by JAMA’s member companies reached $33,280,000,000 (that’s 33 billion) in 2009.
Having distinguished themselves by being the first to offer hybrid vehicles to consumers worldwide, Japanese automakers “continue to work on new technologies to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions and the world’s dependence on oil and give consumers an environmentally friendly means of [automobile] transportation.” Below is information on the different green vehicles being developed by Japanese companies and a time line of when the vehicles may be spotted on the street. Pictures of the cars can be found here (pages 11-12 of the PDF). Where possible, links to the car companies’ internet site for each car are included.
- Mazda Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid (Available on lease in Japan since 2009
- Mazda’s Premacy Hydrogen RE Hybrid features a series-type hybrid drivetrain that combines Mazda’s hydrogen rotary engine with electric power. This zero-emission system offers the same driving performance of a gasoline-powered vehicle.
- Nissan LEAF
- The Nissan LEAF, which the company expects to launch in select markets in Japan, the U.S., and Europe in late 2010, uses no oil or gasoline and emits no carbon dioxide or other greenhouse gases. The company will mass market the spacious, five-seat LEAF globally in 2012. The LEAF is Nissan’s first all-electric vehicle and was developed through the Renault-Nissan Alliance. Three other electric models are planned.
- Mitsubishi i-MiEV
- Mitsubishi is loaning two of it zero-emission, new-generation i-MiEVs to California, which is evaluating the model for possible inclusion in its fleet. The battery-operated subcompact went on sale in Japan in July 2009. The vehicle seats four adults and can be recharged from a standard wall socket. Mitsubishi said it plans to introduce an electric vehicle in the U.S. market in 2011.
- Subaru Plug-in STELLA EV
- Subaru has launched its Plug-in STELLA electric vehicle in Japan. Equipped with a high-performance lithium-ion battery, the vehicle can travel nearly 60 miles before requiring a recharge. The vehicle is based on the Subaru STELLA mini-car and is ideal for daily commuting.
- Toyota FT-EV
- Toyota had the urban commuter in mind when it designed the FT- EV, a battery-electric vehicle that debuted at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit in 2009. With its lithium-ion battery, the vehicle can reach a top speed of 70 mph. Toyota expects to bring the car to market in 2012.
Next-Generation Hybrid Vehicles
- Toyota FT-CH
- In 2010, Toyota unveiled the FT-CH hybrid concept at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The FT- CH, which is 22 inches shorter than a Prius, is one of many new products that will help Toyota fulfill its strategy of offer- ing a wider array of environmentally friendly products to customers in the coming years.
Plug-In Hybrid Vehicles
- Toyota Prius Plug-in Hybrid
- Toyota is introducing the Prius Plug-in Hybrid — a plug-in version of its popular gasoline-electric Prius that runs on a lithium-ion battery — in Japan, the U.S., and Europe. In early 2011, about 150 units will begin arriving in the U.S. for use by government agencies, corporations, universities, and research agencies. The company plans to debut the vehicle commercially during the 2012 model year.
Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles
- Honda FCX Clarity
- Honda began leasing the FCX Clarity hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicle in July 2008. As of July 2010, 25 units were leased in the U.S. and Japan, including one to 2010 Canadian Olympic Hockey Team Captain Scott Niedermayer. The vehicle produces zero carbon-dioxide emissions.
- Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle-Advanced
- Over the next three years, Toyota will demonstrate more than 100 Toyota Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle-Advanced models in New York and California. As new hydrogen stations come online, the company said it would add new regions and partners. The primary goal is to spur the development of the hydrogen infrastructure needed before the company offers the vehicle commercially in 2015.