TOP > Nissan Reports > Kobe’s EV Mountain: New Mobility

Kobe’s EV Mountain: New Mobility

Kobe – Nov. 17 – Some 20 years after disaster struck this western Japan city, the wheels of recovery are still turning, and new mobility options are helping to create the nation’s first “EV Mountain” in Kobe’s Mt. Rokko and Mt. Maya area.

“It’s been 20 years since the Great Hanshin earthquake, and the inner-city area of Kobe has recovered,’ says Rokko Industries President Yasuhiro Morioka says.

“However, Mt. Rokko and Mt. Maya have struggled in their rebound, so we are thinking about mobility as a way to facilitate recovery.”

Morioka is leading an electric vehicle mobility push in the mountains above the port city, offering car-sharing to the area’s tourists.

“My dream is to create a place like the Swiss resort of Zermatt, an EV Mountain on Mt. Rokko, which is connected to the city of Kobe,” says Morioka.

Morioka’s EV Center on Mt. Rokko serves visitors who arrive by bus, ropeway or cable car, while also offering a charging site for electric vehicles.

“Two years ago on Mt. Rokko, we launched a tourism campaign using the New Mobilty Concept EV. It’s a fun-to-drive, two-person electric vehicle, which is also eco-friendly with zero emissions.”

The number of car-sharing vehicles on EV Mountain has hit double digits, but will grow as zero-emission mobility expands in downtown Kobe, which has run its own “sea:mo” car-sharing program since August.

Other businesses on EV Mountain say they are hopeful about the impact on visitors.

“Mt. Rokko Pasture was founded in 1950 to promote farming in the Kobe area, inspired by Alps-based farms with some milk cows and sheep,” says Pasture vice president Hiroya Sakamoto.

“It opened to the public from 1976, and now has become very popular, attracting about 300,000 visitors annually,”

“Our most popular feature is to mingle with the animals and enjoy nature, and people come up the mountain expecting clean air. Thus, we hope the number of eco-friendly cars will rise.”

The Kobe government also is eyeing how EV transport can offer mobility solutions.

“Kobe’s a very compact town, but tourism areas such as Sannomiya, the Kitano district, and the waterfront area are rather remote. We’re looking at linking these areas together with use of EVs,” says, Michio Iizuka of the Kobe Housing and Urban Planning Bureau.

“Rather than everyone owning a car, we look to promote car-sharing services, including EVs.”

Morioka says pioneer city Kobe will boast another first.

“Mt. Rokko’s history is over 100 years with many firsts. We hope our EV Mountain, an area with many electric vehicles, will be another historic first.”

Go back to top of this page