Research and Development Program of the Next-generation Environmentally Friendly Vehicles(EFVs) in Japan 2004-01-0644
The increase in number of automobiles due to its convenience brought serious increases in environmental load. The rate of attainment of environmental standards for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and suspended particulate matter (SPM) in urban areas is still low in Japan. Diesel vehicles emit the vast majority of air pollutants from exhaust. Therefore, developing emission measures, particularly for diesel vehicles, is an urgent task for addressing air pollution.
Furthermore, at the Third Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 3) held in Kyoto in December 1997, Japan pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels for the first commitment period of 2008 to 2012.
To address vehicle emissions, Japan is gradually introducing increasingly strict NOx and particulate matter regulations. In addition, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MLIT) considers measures to encourage the development and promotion of EFVs as an important issue for the government alongside the setting of emission regulations and fuel-efficiency targets. Because EFVs are expensive and require tremendous R&D investment, the Japanese government is promoting the development of next-generation EFVs to replace current heavy-duty diesel vehicles.
The National Traffic Safety and Environment Laboratory spearheaded the launch of a three-year project starting in FY2002 to promote the development of next-generation EFVs. The project aims to have EFVs that can replace heavy-duty diesel vehicles reach the commercialization stage in 2010. Under this project, the development of new technologies for next-generation fuel-efficient low emission vehicles, including dimethyl ether (DME), natural gas, next-generation hybrids and super-clean diesel vehicles, is promoted.