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Japanese refiner Idemitsu enters car market with plans to launch EV in 2022

February 18/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japanese oil refiner Idemitsu Kosan Co Ltd is to move into the car market with plans to launch an electric vehicle next year at its 6,400 petrol stations via a joint venture with unlisted automaker Tajima Motor Corp, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The move shows how the oil refiner is stepping up its transformation into a supplier of low-carbon energy and materials as local oil demand drops due to a shrinking and ageing population that consumes less fuel.

Idemitsu and Tajima will form a new company, called Idemitsu Tajima EV, in April, and aim to unveil their first vehicle in October this year and start selling the product next year, with a price tag of between 1-1.5 MM yen (USD9,491-USD14,237).

The companies hope the new model, an ultracompact 4-seater electric vehicle with a driving range of up to 120 km and a maximum speed of 60 km per hour, will draw demand from individuals and businesses using cars for short distances for shopping and deliveries.

The car, 2.5 meters long and 1.3 meters wide, is smaller than that of conventional minivehicles in Japan.

"We believe there is about 1 million potential demand for ultracompact EVs as it is safer than bicycle or small motor bike and easier to drive than conventional minivehicle," Idemitsu President Shunichi Kito told a news conference.

"We plan to offer various services including sharing and subscription of the EV at our 6,400 petrol stations," he said.

As MRC reported earlier, Japan's Idemitsu Kosan took off-stream its naphtha cracker in Japan for a turnaround on September 7, 2020. The cracker remained under maintenance by end-October, 2020. Located at Tokuyama, Japan, the cracker has an ethylene production capacity of 690,000 mt/year and propylene production capacity of 110,000 mt/year. Idemitsu Kosan also operates another cracker in Chiba, Japan, with an ethylene production capacity of 410,000 mt/year.

Ethylene and propylene are feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,220,640 tonnes in 2020, up by 2% year on year. Only shipments of low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (HDPE) increased. At the same time, polypropylene (PP) shipments to the Russian market reached 1 240,000 tonnes in 2020 (calculated using the formula: production, minus exports, plus imports, excluding producers' inventories as of 1 January, 2020). Supply of exclusively PP random copolymer increased.

Idemitsu Kosan is a Japanese petroleum company. It owns and operates oil platforms, refineries and produces and sells petroleum, oils and petrochemical products. The company runs two petrochemical plants in Chiba and Tokuyama. The two naphtha crackers can produce up to 997,000 tonnes of ethylene per year.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, PP random copolymer, propylene, LDPE, HDPE, ethylene, car components, petrochemistry, Idemitsu, Russia, Japan.
Category:General News
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