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Lighting the road ahead
08 September 2016 | Article
Whilst the automotive industry is still taking fledgling steps in the EV uptake, it is worth turning back the clock to DENSO’s original inception of electric vehicles more than half a century ago, as the industry innovator proudly took unprecedented strides well ahead of its time.
DENSO started as a subsidiary of Toyota Motor Co., Ltd. during the severe economic downturn after WW2. Whilst the industry was struggling, necessity is the mother of invention, and the automotive parts specialist sought to set itself apart to achieve the success it enjoys now. Reinventing itself as an automotive innovator, the company turned itself toward developing advanced vehicle technologies and parts, and DENSO quickly flourished within the industry.
With a sense for innovation and a typically strong will to contribute to a better society, DENSO engineers succeeded in developing a pioneering electric car: the ‘DENSO-GO’. The concept provided a stepping stone for DENSO’s wider success, and can even be seen as a building block for many modern EVs.
A plan for the practical use of an electrical vehicle was in the works by October 1949. The final concept was a truly unique creation, using a DC motor instead of the more commonly found AC motor, and the car’s speed was controlled with only four gears, and employed many intricate technical devices to produce a car with technology far beyond its contemporaries.
The prototype could cover 195 kilometres per charge, an impressive distance considering the distance electric vehicles can cover today, just over six decades on. Fifty DENSO electric cars found their way onto Japanese roads In July 1950 and ran particularly smoothly throughout the Tokyo region. With a top speed of 43 km/h, they were only slightly slower than the widely available coal-powered vehicles and their expensive U.S counterparts, and provided a legitimate alternative.
Whilst the ‘DENSO-GO’ concept remained a concept, it provided a tangible technological victory, affirmation of DENSO’s technological prescience and secured the company’s place as a burgeoning automotive innovator.
More importantly, the ‘DENSO-GO’ served as vindication of a real commitment to provide creative and quality products that could benefit the automotive sector and wider society as a whole. In this sense, the concept laid the groundwork for DENSO’s motivation in the industry; taking on the greatest challenges under any circumstances and providing an innovative solution.
DENSO has continued to contribute to alternative energy solutions for the automotive industry, most notably providing an ultra-green solution in the hydrogen-powered Toyota Mirai. in which DENSO components cover several of the car’s key functions, particularly the EV control system, heat control system, air supply system and hydrogen system. Individual components include the temperature and pressure sensors, the hydrogen fuelling control unit and the infrared ray transmitter which communicates with the hydrogen station.
The automotive giant has pursued a broad sphere of expertise and continues to make a profound impact in the automotive and technology industries; its wide array of world-firsts ranges from the first in-vehicle wireless cell phone charger to the QR code.
With over 151,000 employees at more than 200 sites in Japan, North America, Europe, Asia, South America and Africa, the Japanese company produces world-first technologies and products that save lives, provide security and lower carbon footprints.Back to the overview