November 16, 2012
EV-ergreen in Yokohama
Nov. 16 – Yokohama – Could this be the future of transportation in Japan? Zero-emissions, small and easy to maneuver and still with a seat in the back for parents to do the school run.
And even though it’s already on sale in Europe, small and quite powerful electric cars like this don’t fit into any category of vehicle allowed on Japanese roads. So, now a trial is underway in Yokohama.
“We are doing field tests with the government to check if this new category is reasonable or useful for the Japan market,” said Eiji Makino, General Manager in Nissan’s ZEV Strategy Group.
So what’s it like to actually drive? Well, it’s electric and it’s pretty zippy.
It does up to 80 kilometers (nearly 50 miles) an hour, and the battery and the weight are low, so it’s good at cornering. And there’s a roof, so it means that even if there are no doors, you wouldn’t get so wet when it rains. It’s almost like a cross between a motorbike and a car.
And, of course, it’s got four wheels, making it much less likely that you’re going to fall off.
Under special exemption from the road regulations a few of the cars will be available for rent and trying them out in the real-life conditions of the city.
“This mode of transport will fit into the lives of people in the 21st century. We’re confident of that. And we intend for Yokohama to be the launching point,” said Testuya Nakajima, a Yokohama City official.
A successful trial could help to change the law. The new mobility concept turns heads now, but one day it may be commonplace on the roads of Japan.