Nano-Optonics Energy to Mass Produce Electric Cars in Japan

Nano-Optonics Energy Inc., a closely held energy technology firm, plans to start producing electric vehicles next year, becoming the first non-automotive company in Japan to make the vehicles.

A factory site owned by Japan Tobacco Inc. in Yonago, Tottori Prefecture, will be purchased as early as next March, Masayuki Naruoka, a spokesman for the Kyoto-based company, said today by telephone. The plan was announced yesterday by Shinji Hirai, governor of the western prefecture.

Nano-Optonics, set up in 2005 by researchers from Kyoto University, would be the first company to produce electric vehicles in Japan other than carmakers such as Mitsubishi Motors Corp. and Fuji Heavy Industries Ltd.

“We hope to produce around 1,000 vehicles in the first year and increase the number up to 100,000 in the future,” Naruoka said. “Our first model should be a high-end product to show that electric cars are an option.”

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