Japan’s Standards Strategy in Electric Vehicles


This is a listing of older East-West Center events (newer listed first).  See Events to get the list of current or upcoming events.

When: Feb 11 2013 - 12:30pm until Feb 11 2013 - 2:00pm
Where: East-West Center in Washington: 1819 L St. NW, Suite 600. Washington, DC. 22202

Japan’s Standards Strategy in Electric Vehicles

An Asia-Pacific Political Economy Seminar Featuring:

Dr. Llewelyn Hughes

Visiting Fellow, East-West Center in Washington; Department of Political Science, George Washington University

Deborah Gordon (Discussant)

Senior Associate, Energy and Climate Program, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Japan’s Standards Strategy in Electric Vehicles from East-West Center on Vimeo.


In his February 2011 State of the Union address President Obama called for one million electric vehicles (EVs) to be on US roads by 2015. The government of Japan, as well as governments and auto manufacturers in Europe and elsewhere are also promoting the electrification of transport. Yet while the cross-national harmonization of standards promotes the faster deployment of electric vehicle technologies and infrastructure, Japan is proposing the CHAdeMO standard, while US, European, and Chinese manufacturers are developing incompatible alternatives.

2012 Japan Studies Visiting Fellow, Dr. Llewelyn Hughes, of George Washington University presented the results of his fellowship research on Japan's electric vehicle (EV) standards strategy at the East-West Center in Washington."International standards have emerged as an important source of non-market competition in EVs" Dr. Llewelyn Hughes explained in his seminar at the East-West Center in Washington. Presenting the research from his residency as an EWCW Japan Studies Fellow, Dr. Hughes described Japan's standards strategy, and what the prospects are for solving the standardization issue here in the US and in other green growth areas. The goal of Japan's policy, he explained, is to increase the range, speed of charge, and charging infrastructure to help the public overcome "range anxiety"-the fear of running out of power far from a charging station- to increase the market share and develop economies of scale for EV production. However even among Japanese automakers there is a mismatch of charging standards (Subaru and Mitsubishi for instance have embraced CHAdeMO, while Toyota and Honda remain non-committal). This represents a coordination issue that needs to be worked out domestically before taking the system international, where even greater standardization is needed for EVs to get the infrastructure needed to become mainstream.

Ms. Deborah Gordon, expert on oil, climate, and transportation issues at the Carnegie Endowment on International Peace, served as discussant for EWCW Visiting Fellow Dr. Llewelyn Hughes' presentation on Japan's approach to electric vehicle (EV) standards. Discussant Deborah Gordon, and expert on climate, energy, and transportations issues at the Carneigie Endowment for International Peace, went on to describe some of the promises and pitfalls of increased EV use. The standardization of charging issue described by Dr. Hughes is just one of the hurtles that the all-electric vehicles will have to overcome before their market share can grow. The recent North American oil boom has lessened some of the urgency to find a replacement for costly foreign oil. Instead, it will be reduced emissions that will drive to demand for EVs. She sees the urbanization of Asia as a new window of opportunity for such vehicles; as wealth in these areas and the subsequent demand for cars grows, EVs will be the safest way to meet that demand in the high-population metropolises.


Dr. Llewelyn Hughes is a Japan Studies Fellow at the East-West Center in Washington, and Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the George Washington University. He is currently engaged in a multi-year study on green growth and industrial competition, and has just completed a book on oil market governance to be published next year. Dr. Hughes has worked and studied in Tokyo for nine years, including fellowships at Keidanren, and the Institute for Energy Economics Japan, and three years as aide and interpreter to Ozawa Ichiro, a senior politician in the Japanese parliament.

Deborah Gordon is a nonresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, where her policy research focuses on oil, climate, and transportation issues in the United States, China, and globally. Since 1996 she has been a policy consultant specializing in transportation, energy, and environmental policy. Her recent book, Two Billion Cars provides a fact-based case and roadmap for navigating the biggest global environmental challenge of this century—cars and oil (Oxford University Press, 2010).

Primary Contact Info:
Name: Grace Ruch
Phone: 202-327-9762