Akihabara News (Tokyo) — Idemitsu Kosan, mainly known an an oil refining company, has reportedly decided to enter the electric car market this year in partnership with the Tajima Motor Corporation.
This news, which was first reported by the Nihon Keizai Shinbun, has not yet been confirmed by the companies.
The report indicates that the Idemitsu battery electric vehicle (BEV) will be an ultra-compact four-seater designed to quite affordable at under ¥1.5 million (US$14,290) per unit. It is designed for tasks such as taking a run to the supermarket. Even cheaper BEVs are beginning to sell well in China, and Idemitsu hopes to develop a similar product for Japan.
The firm plans to begin selling the BEVs by the end of the year, using the Idemitsu chain of gas stations across the nation as de facto auto showrooms.
The Idemitsu ultra-compact BEV has a total length of 2.5 meters and a width of 1.3 meters, and will have a maximum speed 60 kilometers per hour.
The vehicles will have a lithium-ion battery that can be charged from a household outlet, taking about eight hours. The cruising range on a full charge will be about 100 kilometers.