Toyota is looking to more than double the size of the charging-station program it launched in Japan's Aichi Prefecture last year. And, at about a buck a charge, plug-in vehicle owners will likely to be more than happy to be the guinea pigs.

Toyota originally launched a program involving the installation of 32 charging stations in Aichi Prefecture in 2012 and will add another 40 between November 15 and March 15, 2014. The Japanese automaker is working with four city governments – Gamagori City, Toyohashi City, Nishio City, Kota Town – as well as more than a dozen private companies.

While many of the existing stations are at retail locations, Toyota is eying hotels and tourist attractions for additional charging spots. And while the tourist-site chargers won't be freebies, Toyota is asking just 100 yen ($1.02) per charge, so its goal of discovering "user-friendly authentication methods" for the stations is certainly realistic.

Of course, Toyota's not flying solo when it comes to working up a charging-station network in its home country. This summer, Toyota, Nissan, Honda and Mitsubishi, said they would work with the Japanese government at more than tripling the country's publicly accessible Level 2 and DC fast chargers to about 11,000 units and 5,700 units, respectively. The Japanese government had previously said it would commit about $1 billion in subsidies towards accelerating the build-out of a plug-in charging network. Check out Toyota's press release below.
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Toyota Aiming to Expand EV and PHV Charging Infrastructure in Japan

Toyota City, Japan, November 1, 2013―Toyota Motor Corporation will carry out verification tests in Aichi Prefecture, Japan from November 15, 2013 to March 15, 2014 to assess the practicality of the widespread deployment of chargers for plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHVs) and electric vehicles (EVs). The tests, which are a continuation of a similar program implemented in 20121, will be conducted jointly with four local governments (Gamagori City, Toyohashi City, Nishio City, Kota Town) and 13 businesses and organizations2.

In addition to commercial sites, where chargers were frequently used during last year's program, the scope of this year's tests will be expanded to include hotels and nearby tourist sites in response to EV and PHV user feedback. Forty new chargers will be installed, supplementing the 32 chargers (some of which were non-subsidized) used in last year's tests.

The tests are primarily aimed to 1) examine optimal charger locations, 2) trial user-friendly authentication methods and 3) encourage businesses to install chargers:

With the cooperation of the four local governments involved in the project, chargers will be installed predominantly in hotels and tourist sites, aiming to boost local tourism, while also assessing changes in consumer awareness of PHVs and EVs. During the test period, posters and other promotional materials will be displayed at community facilities and other participating locations to raise awareness of the program and to encourage use of the chargers.

To improve the system's ease-of-use and expand its user base, authentication cards (Prius PHV member cards) for "G-Station" chargers developed by Toyota Media Service Corporation will be made compatible with "EVC1" chargers from Toyota Industries Corporation.

Additional coin-operated chargers (100 yen per charge) will be installed at tourist sites to allow collection of fees and enable operators to recoup installation costs. These chargers will also be used to investigate user trends and pricing structure suitability.

The tests qualify for the 2013 Subsidy Program to Support R&D for the Creation of New Aichi3, a support fund established by Aichi Prefecture to counter deindustrialization trends.

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