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Mitsubishi Estate’s Ambitious $3.3 Billion Investment Targets EV Logistics and Self-Driving Trucks

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According to Nikkei Asia, Mitsubishi Estate, unveils plans for a substantial ¥500 billion ($3.3 billion) investment over the coming decade, signaling a strategic move into the evolving landscape of logistics, particularly in Electric Vehicle (EV) storage and autonomous transport.

The investment, dwarfing the previous decade’s spending by 3.5 times, aims to develop specialized logistics facilities capable of securely housing EV batteries, acknowledging the fire hazards associated with conventional warehouses. The upcoming logistic center in Zama, Kanagawa prefecture, boasts a significant floor space of 178,700 square meters and features dedicated sections designed with fireproof measures for EV battery storage.

Expanding their footprint, Mitsubishi Estate intends to replicate such logistic centers in Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures, capitalizing on the increasing demand attributed to the rise of EVs. Beyond EV storage, the company plans to construct facilities tailored to accommodate autonomous vehicles.

Anticipating a shift in logistics dynamics due to revised labor standards in April, Mitsubishi Estate positions itself ahead of the “2024 problem” – an impending driver shortage expected to spur the adoption of self-driving trucks. The logistic center in Joyo, Kyoto prefecture, set for completion around 2026, will be equipped to receive Level 4 self-driving trucks, leveraging a connected roadway system.

In a strategic partnership with Chiba-based startup T2, specializing in self-driving technology for large trucks, Mitsubishi Estate embarks on comprehensive logistics designs and system development. The investment trajectory aims to enhance Mitsubishi’s logistics network from 21 to 40 facilities over the next decade, marking a 50% growth in total floor space to 4.25 million sq. meters.

The surge in e-commerce, coupled with the demands from the EV sector and the “2024 problem,” fuels a substantial expansion in logistics warehouse space. International real estate servicer CBRE notes a 30% increase in new logistics warehouse areas this year. Additionally, the semiconductor industry’s demand for specialized warehouses for hazardous materials contributes to this growth, exemplifying a broader industry trend aligning with evolving supply chain needs.

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