Japan's fascination with vending machines is likely unmatched. As of 2008, 5.5 million vending machines were installed across the island nation and those machines, unlike the ones here in the U.S., don't merely dispense candy bars and soda pop. Some of Japan's vending machines sell exotic items like live crabs and heads of lettuce but, come next March, 10,000 machines capable of dispensing a charge for plug-in vehicles should dot the nation.

On Monday, ten Japanese companies collectively announced plans to install electric vehicle chargers near existing vending machines in Japan. Initially, the electric chargers will be stand-alone units but, Forking Co., a major vending machine operator in Japan, says that eventually the machines themselves could incorporate the plug-in vehicle charging hardware.

By month's end, Forking, with assistance from Panasonic Electric Works and additional partners, will begin installing the charging stations. All told, some 10,000 chargers should be in place by this time next year. It'll be like having an entire convenience store in a box. Hat tip to Stephen!

[Source: TreeHugger, Integrity Exports | Image: alt.rc – C.C. License 2.0]

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