‘2022 – the first year of the EV era in Japan?’ the COVID crisis and its impact on the Japanese automobile industry

Publication Type:

Journal Article


International Journal of Automotive Technology and Management, Volume 23, Number 1, p.60 – 79 (2023)




Automobile supply chain, Automobiles, Automotive industry, Battery-electric vehicles, Carbon, Carbon neutral strategy, Carbon neutrals, Ecology, Electric Cars, First year, Japan, Japanese automobile industry, Supply chains, sustainable mobility, Watershed moment


Has the COVID pandemic just been another crisis that had hit the Japanese automobile industry over the past three decades or has it been a watershed moment with respect to the shift to electric cars (EVs)? After presenting data regarding the development of Japanese industry and the evolution of policies for ecological friendly cars, the paper argues that, given that all major automobile markets and most foreign competitors are shifting towards battery electric vehicles (BEVs), the Japanese automobile producers have no choice other than abandoning conventional combustion engines including hybrid technologies and changing their strategies as well to BEVs. They do so, not because of government carbon neutral policies or out of conviction of the ecological superiority of BEVs, but just out of pure pragmatism in order to maintain their international competitiveness regarding products and production. COVID did not trigger but accelerated these developments. © 2023 Inderscience Enterprises Ltd.. All rights reserved.

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