Namba, who is against nuclear power, is placing solar panels on his condominiums in southwestern Japan, a new branch of his growing business. He plans to set up Leaf recharging stations on its grounds.
Kino, the author, believes that if electric cars are to become mainstream it's more likely to happen in countries that haven't suffered a nuclear disaster including the emerging markets of India and China.
He also thinks they will be embraced more quickly by car buffs in the U.S. and Europe, in contrast to the more practical Japanese consumers who look for good deals in a car.
Electric vehicles still do have one strong selling point — soaring gasoline prices. Crude oil has shot up above $100 a barrel lately from $75 in October.
"You ain't seen nothing yet," Nissan Chief Executive Carlos Ghosn told reporters this week. "Every time oil prices go up, it's free advertising for electric cars."
Yoko Usukura, a clerical worker who bought a Leaf a half-year ago, was depressed by the explosions at Fukushima nuclear plants. She hopes Japan will phase out nuclear power but meanwhile is happy electricity for her Leaf, even with daily recharging, is costing a tenth of what she would be paying at gas stations.
"It is so quiet. It is so different," she said.
But some of the cost advantage may evaporate in Japan. Electricity bills are almost certain to jump as the operator of Fukushima hikes fees to help cover the massive costs of tackling the meltdowns at the plant.
Follow Yuri Kageyama on Twitter at http://twitter.com/yurikageyama
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