Toyota will begin selling smart electric vehicle chargers in Japan from next month as it attempts to take a stranglehold of the fledging EV industry.
Called ‘G-Station’, the chargers will be connected to the internet and provide plug-in hybrid and electric vehicle owners information about charging locations, availability of stations and the level of their vehicle’s charge.
Motorists will be able to access G-Station information from computers, smartphones and some compatible in-car satellite navigation systems. They will also receive email alerts when their car is fully charged.
G-Stations will recognise owners and vehicles by ‘no-contact’ smart cards, which means recharging will be a simple process that will not require motorists to feed a machine with coins like a parking meter.
G-Station chargers, which use cloud technology developed in collaboration with Microsoft, will work with Toyotas as well as all other plug-in hybrid and electric vehicles.
Two different models will be produced: a basic unit for 280,000 yen ($3250) and a high-tech model with voice operation guidance, motion sensors and a visual display for 448,000 yen ($5200).
Toyota plans to sell 3000 G-Stations in Japan to Toyota dealerships, shopping centres and restaurants over the next 18 months. A successful implementation will lead to a global rollout of G-Station technology.
This is yet another example of Toyota taking the lead in EV technology, with a system that uses the latest technology and is compatible with all EVs. The question is: why aren’t more companies doing it?