In a leap of great lateral thinking, Panasonic in Japan are teaming up with drinks vending machine manufactures and operators to produce a combined vending machine / EV charging station package.
If you have ever been to Japan or seen a Japanese street scene, you will know just how prevalent these drinks vending machines are – apparently there are 2.5 million of them, which is about 1 for every 51 people in Japan. Not only are there huge numbers of these machines, but they are also in strategic locations: In neighborhood back streets, in condo buildings, in front of stations, in parking lots, in sports stadia. The list goes on. If even a fraction of these had EV charging capabilities, this would be a giant leap forward for the infrastructure required to make EVs a practical reality.
From the point of view of the customer installing the vending machine, the addition of an EV charging unit has attractions also in that it provides two revenue streams from the one machine. When you are signing on a typical three-year contract to have one of these machines in or outside your facility, any possibility of higher revenue is to be welcomed. And even though the idea is based on the vending machine and EV charging station being set up as a single unit, customers will also be able to choose to have the drinks vending machine set up inside their building and the EV charger out in the parking lot.
This is the kind of lateral thinking that will speed the installation of the charging infrastructure that is going to be needed as more and more people switch to electric cars. In Japan, it could be this charger / vending machine combination that holds the key. What will be the solution in the US? Or in the UK? There is a great opportunity for lateral thinking like this for these markets as well.
And if you do happen to live in Japan in an area of high foot traffic (such as on a route that high school kids walk to school), you could find that your motoring costs are completely paid for by your vending machine clients. A car that runs on Coke!
Source: NikkieBP (Japanese-language)