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Japanese firms join forces to build electric and autonomous mobility vessels

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Announcement from e5 Lab

Kansai Electric Power Co and e5 Lab Inc have reached an agreement today on a business partnership for the development and promotion of pure electric vessels “Water Urban Mobility” (hereafter EV) in the Kansai bay area (of Japan).

In recent years, the Japanese shipping industry is facing issues such as eliminating GHG emissions from vessels and the shortage of skilled seafarers. Therefore, development of EV technology and autonomous navigation systems for vessels is imperative. There is also high expectation for the development of various mobility in preparation for the Osaka/Kansai Expo in 2025.

e5 will be responsible for the planning and development of next-generation EV that improves comfortability by reducing noise and vibration due to electrification, enhances usability by making more transportation options, and creates entertainment spaces by highly flexible architecture and interior design which meets customer’s needs. KEPCO will develop “Bidirectional Wireless Charge/Discharge System” for large-capacity storage batteries to be installed on EV. This will be the first case in Japan if it is successfully installed.

This charge/discharge system connects storage batteries on the vessel side and charge/discharge devices on the shore side to control electric power. It is expected to be used for energy management of the facilities nearby shore side and BCP measures.

In the future, the project aims to propose and sell new mobility services using EV technology and charge/discharge systems to local governments and corporations. Both companies will accelerate the development and diffusion of EV, and contribute to the sustainable management of the Japanese shipping industry and the realization of a decarbonized society

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