Rise of the Electric Car: Charging Points Pass Up Gas Stations in Japan

Feb 13, 2015 03:30 PM EST | Jordan Ecarma

Japan's number of charging stations for electric cars has surpassed its count of traditional gas stations, according to Nissan.

The automaker, which offers the electric Leaf with an 84-mile battery range, has said the country has 40,000 charging stations compared with 34,000 gas stations, Bloomberg Business reported.

That's excellent news for carmakers who are trying to keep pace with tightening government restrictions for fuel economy while enticing consumers to make the switch to hybrid or electric vehicles. One of the drawbacks to purchasing an electric car can be the lack of a charging infrastructure; motorists get anxious if they don't know when they can next recharge their vehicle.

"An important element of the continued market growth is the development of the charging infrastructure," Joseph G. Peter, Nissan chief financial officer, said on a recent conference call with analysts, according to Bloomberg.

One contention with Nissan's find is that the 40,000 electric power stations cited include many that are part of private homes.

Automakers are working to build charging infrastructures to keep pace with the market as more car companies introduce green models.

Last month at the Washington Auto Show, BMW and Volkswagen announced a partnership to build 100 DC fast-charging stations along the East and West coasts.

Spaced around 50 miles apart, the new DC fast-charging stations will connect cities from Boston to Washington, D.C., along the East Coast's I-95 as well as Portland, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego on the West Coast.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based electric carmaker Tesla additionally has its own Supercharger network. Altogether, the United States has just around 9,000 public charging stations.  

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