Needs Exact Change: Japan to Charge Electric Vehicles at Vending Machines

Japan is rather well known for a variety of things, but one of the more unique objects those interested in Japan might come across is their vending machines. Known for selling everything from snacks and drinks all the way to full meals, clothing, books, and more bizarre objects, there literally seems to be a vending machine for anything in Japan. Now, several Japanese companies have decided that maybe it is time to combine the vending machine with electric vehicles.

Ten companies in Japan have gotten together in order to begin manufacturing electric vehicle chargers that can be placed with vending machines. At the forefront of the group preparing the task is vending machine conglomerate Forking KK who intends to work primary with Panasonic Electric Works and Softbank Mobile, a Japanese telecommunications company, to create the chargers and distribute them along a network of vending machines. Currently, the group is planning to install around 10,000 electric vehicle chargers this year in places with pre-existing vending machines or new vending machine sites.

According to Forking, Panasonic will be primarily responsible for developing the electric vehicle chargers at low cost while Forking will distribute them throughout the various vending machine locations. Softbank Mobile has been brought on board to install a network that would allow for the remote management of the systems.

The plan seems to be a mix of between a desire to further extend the network of electric vehicle chargers throughout Japan while also promoting the spread of vending machines to various locations that would not have previously considered installing vending machines prior to the charger incentive. According to the companies involved, the first electric vehicle chargers will be implemented into vending machine locations as early as the end of this month.

Considering the fact that one of the primary complaints some have with the development of the electric vehicle industry is that the charging network is not large enough to support it properly, this does seem to be a rather unique way of approaching the issue.

Photo Credit: Socatech