NEC, a network, communications and information technology company, Sumitomo and Nissan Motor have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to promote a new membership-based charging service for EV users in Japan.

The agreement requires the three companies to conduct a joint study to develop charging facilities, to provide continuous service to EV users and maintenance of charging equipment by working with existing service providers.

The scope of work also includes establishment of a business model for EV charging infrastructure by installing standard charging facilities and quick chargers at key strategic locations, including provisions of charging facilities for apartment buildings residents and monthly parking users.

The project complements Sumitomo’s aim to realize a low-carbon society by accelerating widespread adoption of EVs through the second-life use of lithium-ion batteries for automotive use, and the auto lease business by its affiliate company, Sumitomo Mitsui Auto Service Company.

Nissan, which launched its mass-market EV, Nissan LEAF in Japan on 20 December 2010, intends to spur the development of infrastructure essential to promoting EV and provide greater convenience to users and business feasibility through this project.

NEC will be required to provide various systems utilizing cloud computing in the membership management, including quick charging services, member authentication and payment processing to facilitate networked charging facilities.

The first trial service under this project that will also study the future use of charging facilities by plug-in hybrid vehicles is set to start within Kanagawa prefecture early next fiscal year, in collaboration with the prefecture and its local governments.