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Vibrant SMEs of JAPAN

Leveraging trust established in the electric power business to break into the EV charger market.[San-Eisha]

Secret to Robustness
  • High reliability cultivated by working with the electric power industry.
  • Developed an electric vehicle charger as the company’s first in-house product.
  • Promoting quick chargers globally and obtained certification by the relevant standards organization.

San-Eisha is a well-established company with a 73 year history and is engaged primarily in the development, design, manufacture, and sales of equipment for electric power distribution. The company is also involved in the introduction of IT into the power distribution field and in smart grid related equipment. About 10 years ago, San-Eisha began cultivating new markets, and as part of that effort, it entered into the electric vehicle (EV) charger market. Currently, the company is focusing its strength on developing products other than those for electric power, and of those efforts, the company’s business for regular EV and PHV (plug-in hybrid vehicles) charging equipment is becoming one of its new business pillars.

Prototype Request from Kanagawa Prefecture

San-Eisha has supplied power distribution equipment to power companies for many years, and because those power companies demand advanced durability and reliability, the ability to provide a high level of quality has become one of San-Eisha’s key strengths. The company’s solid track record of transactions with power companies also makes it easy to gain the trust of new customers. Capitalizing on this strength, San-Eisha set out to develop its own original products.
 Because of the growth potential that exists as a market and the support provided in the form of subsidies from national and local governments, San-Eisha’s focus was on regular charging equipment for electric vehicles. The company also recognized that entering this market would allow it to also make a social contribution by offering environmentally responsive products. In 2004, the company launched a new project team focused on EV chargers and endeavored to develop safe, high quality products. Then in 2009, Kanagawa Prefecture requested the development of a prototype charger under the "EV Initiative Kanagawa", an incentive scheme launched by Kanagawa Prefecture to promote widespread use of electric vehicles. Using this opportunity, San-Eisha completed its first regular EV charger in 2010 and installed it in a parking lot in front of the Shin-Yokohama Station. The first charger was not equipped with a cable for charging, so electric vehicle owners had to bring their own cables to connect their vehicles to the charger. Later, mainstream chargers shifted to those equipped with cables, and San-Eisha developed a charger with a cable that took into consideration convenience and was also eligible for subsidies.

Also Focused on Design

This charger was configured with a charging gun cable, which supplies electricity, housed in a stainless steel cabinet. This configuration was adopted because if the cable had been left in an extended state, there was a possibility that it could be run over by cars or damaged by children playing with it. This charger was the first in the industry to have a cable housed in a cabinet. The charger was also equipped with a reel type storage mechanism with automatic winding, and thus the cable can be pulled out and stored using just one hand.
 In the product development process, San-Eisha did not rely only on its own ideas. Instead, the company aggressively incorporated outside opinions, and as a result, was able to support a wide range of needs. For the design, which determines the charger’s exterior, San-Eisha used a company matching service provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center and jointly designed the charger with an industrial product design company. As a result, a design that provides a product exterior that blends well with the city landscape was achieved. The charger was recognized for its product value including its safe design, convenience, and environmentally harmonized design, and in 2011, it received the Good Design Award from the Tokyo Metropolitan Small and Medium Enterprise Support Center.

Targeting 15% of the Market Share

Capitalizing on these development results, San-Eisha developed a regular EV charger with Pioneer in 2012 and began selling the new charger in July 2013. With a thickness of just 100 millimeters, the new charger is the slimmest in the industry, and it can be installed as either an independent stand or mounted to a wall. The company is also cultivating public usage applications at commercial facilities and coin parking lots as well as the B2C (business-to-consumer) market such as applications at apartment complexes and individual homes.
 Meanwhile, for widespread electric vehicle use to occur, quick chargers that can charge a vehicle in about 10 minutes must be installed everywhere throughout the entire nation as a social infrastructure. San-Eisha is also developing this type of quick charger, and last year, the company’s quick charger was certified by CHAdeMO, a global organization aiming to standardize quick chargers and promote widespread use. Moving forward, San-Eisha will advance with product developments utilizing subsidies, and currently, the company is focusing its efforts on expanding sales of EV chargers in the Tokyo metropolitan area and on providing comprehensive energy solution services. Through these efforts, San-Eisha is targeting 15% of the domestic market share for regular EV and PHV charging equipment within 3 to 4 years.

A regular EV charger

A regular EV charger


Wide Appeal through Electric Vehicles

Currently, demonstration testing is being conducted in Japan on EV and PHV chargers as part of the domestic infrastructure. One issue is the billing system. The charging cost is about 50 to 100 yen per hour, but the chargers themselves are extremely expensive. Therefore, the thought is to expand business using a system that subsidizes a part of the equipment cost. In addition, San-Eisha anticipates new business and believes that "if we can become widely known as a company through electric vehicles, that familiarity of our company will lead to expanded sales."

Company Data

President:Yusuke Oba

President:Yusuke Oba

Company name San-Eisha Ltd.
President Yusuke Oba
Industry Type Manufacturer of power distribution equipment
Address 5-2-1 Ebara,Shinagawaku,Tokyo,Japan
Phone 03-3781-8111

Printing day:August 7, 2014

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