Japan looking to subsidise compact BEVs
The Japanese government is looking at offering subsidies for the purchase of compact battery electric vehicles (BEVs), reports The Mainichi, citing sources close to the matter. The move is aimed at promoting compact BEVs as an alternative to full-size cars for elderly people, to reduce the number of accidents they cause. The government is planning to offer a subsidy of JPY100,000 (USD915) per vehicle to provide the elderly population with an easier and safer means of mobility. The government is also looking at relaxing regulations for compact BEVs to allow the vehicles to be driven on most public roads; compact BEVs are currently only permitted to use a limited number of the country's public roads. The Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) is considering drafting a subsidy scheme for compact BEVs based on the existing subsidies granted when purchasing EVs or plug-in hybrids (PHEVs). No official details have been released so far.
Significance: One of the many challenges faced by the rapidly ageing Japanese population is that a lot of people aged 80 or over drive on a daily basis. According to a report by CNET, there has been a 6.1% increase in the number of fatal collisions caused by elderly drivers over the past 10 years, with them now accounting for 14.8% of all fatal car crashes in Japan. Earlier in June, Japan announced a series of measures to reduce accidents caused by elderly drivers including emergency braking on vehicles, vehicle-free zones around schools, and a new licensing system In July, the government said that it is planning to build a framework to enable elderly people to use low-speed electric vehicles. Toyota's new compact BEV, which it plans to put on sale in late 2020, has been designed to provide short-distance mobility with a range of approximately 100 km on a single charge and to reach a maximum speed of 60 km/h. The model was displayed at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show
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