Apr. 10, 2023

Hakobune Inc. establishedPromoting EVs as a public source of electricity to help resolve local, national, and regional energy issues

Sumitomo Corporation has established Hakobune Inc. (Head Office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Representative Director President & CEO: Masanori Takahashi; hereinafter "Hakobune"), to provide "EV x energy management" services. Hakobune will provide commuter EVs for employees, workplace charging (hereinafter, "WPC") facilities, and solar power generation services on a monthly subscription basis.

Issues with commuting by private car for both employees and companies

Of the 82 million vehicles in use in Japan, more than 30% are used primarily for daily commuting, and the vast majority of these are gasoline-powered vehicles. EVs have been slower to catch on in Japan than in Europe, the US, China and other countries due to concerns about cruising range and a lack of recharging infrastructure. At the same time, the financial cost and environmental impacts of commuting by car are becoming concerning issues. Vehicle maintenance and fuel costs have been on the rise in recent years, seriously impacting household finances. In addition, many environmentally conscious companies will inevitably have to drastically reconsider their existing commuting patterns that rely on gasoline-powered vehicles from the perspective of decarbonization. The circumstances facing both individuals and companies thus create a huge potential demand for the electrification and leasing/rental of commuting vehicles.

Moving to a sustainable commuting style by using EVs for commuting

To help employees update their commuting options and help companies decarbonize, Hakobune will provide commuter EV vehicles and WPC equipment for solar charging at workplaces to companies and their employees in areas where cars are critical for commuting.

In concrete terms, Hakobune and its affiliated companies will lease EVs, charging facilities, and solar power generation equipment to contracting companies. The contracting companies will then provide their employees with EVs and WPC access in lieu of commuting allowances. This eliminates the need for employees to purchase their own cars as well as regular refueling and allows them to use the remaining power in their EVs for their good when they return home. Since the EVs will be recharged at work, employees can still commute to work even if they have no recharging facilities at home or in their neighborhood, allowing contracting companies to quickly implement a sustainable commuting scheme while improving convenience for their employees.

Overview of Hakobune's service

Supporting recruiting for dwindling rural workforces

Workforces in rural areas in Japan are expected to decline by more than 20% from their 2000 levels by 2025. Acquiring human resources is a critical issue for local companies, which strongly need to expand their human capital through higher wages, enhanced benefit packages, and reformed work practices. A greatly reduced commuting burden is an appealing working condition for employees, so introducing Hakobune's service is expected to make a significant contribution to corporate recruiting efforts. Furthermore, companies using the service can actively promote themselves as environmentally sophisticated firms and expect to see increased employee engagement.

Using EVs to enter the power supply/demand adjustment market in future

By leveraging the Sumitomo Corporation Group's integrated corporate strength, Hakobune will not only provide EV vehicles and recharging facilities, but will also be able to supply low-cost electricity to offices and factories*. In addition, Hakobune is considering entering the power supply/demand adjustment market by utilizing standby EVs parked at workplaces as an electricity resource. Its aim in pursuing greater secondary use of these EVs is to further reduce the cost of introducing and owning them.

  • Plans as of April 2023 are to introduce dedicated power services in a limited number of areas.
Hakobune's vision for the future

Tackling global environmental issues through EVs and energy management

Masanori Takahashi, president of Hakobune, spoke about the enthusiasm underlying the launch of the new company: "We are taking on the ambitious challenge of multiplying EVs and energy management. EVs carry electricity throughout cities, so users can enjoy solid comfort while living in harmony with the environment no matter where they live in Japan. We hope that everyone involved with Hakobune will feel happy that Hakobune's service is available to them."

Sumitomo Corporation will make full use of its experience in the automotive and electric power businesses to accelerate its efforts to become carbon neutral through Hakobune's business while providing workers with a comfortable mobility lifestyle, thereby realizing the development of local communities and economies.

Hakobune Inc. (Japanese)