Nano-Optonics to Build Electric Vehicles

First non-automotive company in Japan to produce electric vehicles hopes to produce up to a 100,000 units annually.

Published: 24-Mar-2010

YONAGO -- Nano-Optonics Energy Inc., a closely held energy technology firm, plans to start producing electric vehicles next year, becoming the first non-automotive company in Japan to make the vehicles.

A factory site owned by Japan Tobacco Inc. in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, will be purchased as early as next March, Masayuki Naruoka, a spokesman for the Kyoto-based company, said today by telephone. The plan was announced yesterday by Shinji Hirai, governor of the western prefecture.

Nano-Optonics, set up in 2005 by researchers from Kyoto University, would be the first company to produce electric vehicles in Japan other than carmakers such as Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.

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The range limitations of most early electric cars will matter less in tightly packed urban areas, where the daily driving distance is likely to be much shorter than in the suburbs or rural areas.

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