One of the first countries in the world to embrace modern electric cars, Japan has long been considered something of a shining example on how electric car rapid charging infrastructure should be implemented.

Japan is blanketed with charging stations.

Japan is blanketed with charging stations. (Photo: ChargeMap)

In fact, look at the charging station maps for Japan, and you’ll see a sea of CHAdeMO DC quick chargers blanketing every major route from north to south and east to west, thanks in part to pro- electric car incentives and a nationwide — rather than regional — approach to charging station deployment. As of earlier this month, there were more than 2,819 CHAdeMO DC rapid chargers installed across the country, far more than the 1,532 installed in the whole of Europe or 854 found in the U.S.

That massive number of accessible, reliable charging stations combined with lower-power level 2 charging provision — both private and public — now means there are more dedicated charging stations in Japan than there are gas stations.

Far more in fact: over 40,000 says Nissan, versus the 34,000 gas stations currently trading in Japan.

“An important element of the continued market growth is the development of the charging infrastructure,” Joseph G. Peter, Nissan’s chief financial officer, said on a recent conference call with analysts. With two all-electric models now on sale in Japan — the LEAF electric hatchback and e-NV200 electric minivan — the more public and private charging stations there are, the easier both plug-in models are to sell.

Unlike the majority of gas stations in Japan however, the 40,000 electric car charging points quoted by Nissan includes ones in private homes, causing some critics to cry foul. After all, if a charging station is hidden in a privately-owned garage, it isn’t easily accessible to the public.

Yet while we understand that criticism — and it’s why we used an asterisk in our headline — the rise of charger-sharing sites like PlugShare.com means that more people than ever before are offering their private charging station for others to use, either as an altruistic gesture or for cold, hard cash.

Prime Minister Abe likes plug-in cars as well as hydrogen fuel cell cars, but H2 gets the bigger discount.

Prime Minister Abe likes plug-in cars as well as hydrogen fuel cell cars, but H2 gets the bigger discount.