Japanese carmakers have turned this year to presenting solutions to society’s most important challenges, instead of just competing for the most powerful engine or the biggest market share.
At the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show, the car producers presented technology which affects not so much how we drive, but more how we can transform our future lives for the better.
Nissan, for example, is working to link its Leaf electric to household appliances like a washing machine, an iron, a freezer or a vacuum cleaner. "The 100% electric Nissan Leaf is not just a means of transport, it can also discharge electricity to power your home," the company said.
"This is about preparing for the future," said Carlos Ghosn, Nissan’s chief executive.
Not only carmakers, but also home appliance manufacturers and even house builders, look to co-exist with the electric vehicle, said Mitsubishi’s president, Osamu Masuko. He showed a solution that powers a coffee maker from batteries in a Mitsubishi van.
"Many people are beginning to realize that renewable energy can reside comfortably with electric vehicles," says Masuko.
The president of Toyota Motor Europe, Didier Leroy, said that everybody is working very hard on these topics – and not just in Japan. "European competitors are very strong in this area, so they’re not late."