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New e-automotive based services: the Japanese smart communities and their experimentations
Submitted by Yveline Lecler, Université de Lyon, Sciences Po on 21 mars 2013 - 19:18
Type de publication:Conference Paper
Source:Gerpisa colloquium, Paris (2013)
In connection with the climatic imperatives, the objective of sustainable development leads to search less energy consumption practices, at least in the field of non-renewable resources. In the urban world, the energy consumption is still particularly important in the two areas of housing and transport. Attempts to create more energy efficient cities are already old, as evidenced by many achievements of sustainable districts, or eco-districts (mainly residential areas) in various European countries. In Japan, the government has also initiated many programs and experiments in this sense: Eco-towns, Environmental Sustainable Transport Model project or Eco Model Cities. However, these new districts have often focused on recycling and on reducing energy consumption by developing new standards in the construction of buildings. Today, the development of smart grids is a new technical step in the regulation of energy demand. This opens up interesting perspectives in order to make better use of local renewable energy production whose uncertain and timely varying level makes it generally difficult to stabilize the power grid (problems of balancing networks) and gives therefore more emphasis on electrical vehicles.
The proposed paper concerns an extensive program launched by the Japanese METI in 2010 to promote the development of “smart communities”. Linking energy and urban issues, the objective of Smart Communities is to encourage Japanese firms to implement "sustainable services" (electric vehicle, etc.) and to engage local companies and businesses, and of course inhabitants in their effective use. The aim of the Smart Communities goes therefore beyond the simple regulation of the energy flows, since it is also about involving people, services and companies in the construction of less energy-consuming lifestyles to also promote the reduction of CO2 emissions. The program relies on a number of demonstrators selected by METI: four pilot areas (out of 20 candidate cities), combining a coordinated use of energy (including renewable energy), the transformation of the urban / regional transport system (arbitration between the use of the car - electric or hybrid - and public transport) and the changing of urban way and rhythms of life. This comprehensive program, involving both public and private, is also part of a clear industrial strategy to take a leading position on the green technologies markets of the future.
It is interesting to note here that the question of the transport system is integrated into the process of Smart Communities, which does not limit only to the energy management of buildings. The importance of electrical energy in these projects naturally leads to the question of the role for electric car. Beside the idea of a clean vehicle, it appears in many cases that the electric vehicle would also be an easy means to make profitable the generation of renewable energy.
Several concepts are in fact proposed and experimented in the smart communities, corresponding to what could be considered as new e-automotive services that automakers have to develop further and coordinate with energy companies, battery manufacturers but also information systems (HEMS, BEMS, CEMS) of the community. These range from:
- promoting the creation of company (or district-wide) vehicle fleets on the model of car-sharing or self-service car, leading to a disassociation between car ownership and car use,
- the regulation of the travel demand requiring multimodal information (public transport but also walking) to promote a reduction in power consumption,
- to completely new projects going even further in considering that the large number of electric vehicles generates a battery storage capacity that would complement batteries provided for renewable electricity sources. This V2H (Vehicle to Home) process would make it possible to supply electricity to buildings from vehicle battery's at certain times.
The experimentations on which the paper will be based (mainly Toyota city and Yokohama city) involve many stakeholders, including automakers (Toyota, Nissan…) interested in integrating rechargeable hybrid vehicles (Toyota) and electric vehicles (Nissan and Toyota) in this vast energy management, testing the technologies but also the business models of the future. The paper will finally analyze the success factors and barriers of these 3 strategies and discuss the transferability to the context of European cities.