Following a trade mission to Japan, organised by the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, major Japanese companies Okaya Ltd and Nichicon Corporation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Bucks based DriveElectric. Together they will be launching one of the first Vehicle-to-Grid (V2G) chargers to the UK market, revolutionising the use of Electric Vehicles (EV).
V2G charging equipment allows EV owners to help balance the UK’s electricity grid by providing energy from their vehicle batteries to the grid at times of peak demand. In return for doing this, EV owners will benefit from rewards based on the provision of grid services and energy trading revenue. V2G is expected to be one of the methods to improve the total energy management system.
The Chamber, who have strong regional links with Kansai and the Osaka Chamber of Commerce (OCCI) regularly arrange trade missions for UK companies with relevant Japanese businesses with the prospect of future collaborations. DriveElectric were part of an early 2016 trade mission to Kansai that included five companies from the Thames Valley where delegates had the opportunity to attend a series of high profile seminars, presentations and B2B meetings.
Mike Potter, Managing Director at DriveElectric commented: “A more widespread adoption of electric vehicles now looks certain. Coping with the largest change in the energy supply system is not so much a problem as a golden opportunity to provide flexibility that can utilise more renewable energy and help minimise additional costs in infrastructure.
“We are honoured to have formed a partnership with Okaya and Nichicon, a relationship which would not have happened without the trade mission provided by Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce, which enables us to bring market-leading Vehicle to Grid technology to homes and workplaces in the UK. Millions of vehicle batteries will be made in the coming years and it is our shared goal to see that these valuable assets are utilised to their full potential for the benefit of the people who buy them.”
Masako Eguchi-Bacon is the Japan desk market specialist at the Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce. She led the mission where Okaya and DriveElectric were formally introduced less than 18 months ago, and commented: “We are continually strengthening regional ties with our Japanese counterparts to secure ongoing business opportunities. This works both ways – not only for companies visiting Japan but also those that are coming to the Thames Valley and seeing everything it has to offer.
“This partnership between the three companies is one of the most fantastic case studies deriving from a regional link between Thames Valley (UK) and Kansai (Japan), which we have been supporting since 2012.
“All three companies recently exhibited at LCV2017 (Low Carbon Vehicle show) showcasing their new offering and received an overwhelming amount of interest over the two days. I would encourage Thames Valley businesses to consider the trade opportunities with Japan and reach out to the Chamber of Commerce to discuss how they can support them.”
Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce, Dr Adam Marshall, accompanied the Prime Minister with a business delegation to Japan recently. He commented: “I was able to emphasise the huge value placed on Japanese investment and business commitment to places all across the UK – and Chambers’ strong interest in supporting Japanese firms who have made significant local, regional and national impacts through their long-term investments.
“What perhaps struck me most is the continued strength of Japanese business interest in building deep, rather than transactional, trading relationships with UK firms. There was a huge desire for long-term partnerships with UK companies of all sizes and sectors, with the aim of teaming up and then trading the world together.”