Do you drive a Nissan, Honda, Mitsubishi, or Toyota electric vehicle? Do you live in Japan? If you don’t, that’s too bad, because the legendary and true convenience of Japanese, uh, convenience stores, or “conbini,” just got even more, well, convenient. You can now “fill up” on electricity when you stop in. It really is all that and a bag of chips.
FamilyMart has been testing these for a couple of months now. There has already been one set up at a FamilyMart location about halfway through my commute. Necessary, of course, because other than the FamilyMart there’s asphalt and rice fields. Not much else. If you’re running on a limited charge range, it would make sense to have it be where I saw it. Of course, in a rather densely populated area otherwise, it is the only one I had ever seen. But! Never fear, because Nissan and FamilyMart have just announced that the EV stations will be rolling out nationwide.
And none too soon as Japan is ramping up all sorts of alternative fuel vehicles, including the hydrogen powered Toyota Mirai. Hybrid electric vehicles already dominate Japanese roadways (specifically Toyota Priuses, Priii? Did we ever settle that? And Honda Fits), and the next major move is clearly going to be to vehicles which don’t use petroleum at all. In a nation like mine, with so few natural resources, and no oil, kicking that habit is something I agree with... even if as a motorhead, I have trouble wrapping my mind around it.
The PR person acting as a sort of “field correspondent” for Nissan’s “news program” called Nissan Dashboard, spoke with a representative of the FamilyMart company. She also spoke to another member of, presumably, her own Nissan department (marketing), but he just detailed how the EV charging process works.
The PR person/correspondent asked the FamilyMart representative what the purpose of the expansion was. Unsurprisingly, the answer basically amounted to (and this is both a translation and a paraphrase), “We’re a convenience store, and we think that adding EV charging stations to a lot of stores will be very convenient for the customers.” Yeah, also they’re ubiquitous. FamilyMarts are EVERYWHERE. As are convenience stores in general in Japan.
I live on a residential block surrounding a park, outside of the block there are two FamilyMarts and a Lawson on three of the four corners. Go a block over and there’s a 7-11. I imagine it won’t be too long until Lawson, 7-11, Sunkus/Circle K (yeah, we have Circle Ks) get in on the game, too. Soon there could literally be an EV charging station on every street corner. Probably more charging stations than gas stations. That can only be to the better.
Watch the entirety of the 26th episode of Nissan Dashboard below:
Images and video via Nissan.
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