Transportation / Mobility

December 29, 2011


Japanese Companies to Test New System to Promote Use of Electric-Powered Taxis, Reduce GHGs

Keywords: Energy Conservation Local government Manufacturing industry Non-manufacturing industry Transportation / Mobility 

Five Japanese companies jointly announced on July 5, 2011, that their experimental study -- aimed at promoting the use of electric vehicle (EV) taxis and designing intelligent fleet management systems -- was selected as one of the 2011 global warming mitigation technology development projects sponsored by the Ministry of the Environment of Japan. The companies involved are Motion Co., a systems-development company, Kanematsu Corp., a trading company, System Origin Co., a provider of total solution services, Nissan Motor Co., and Recycle One, a plastic recycling and green business operator.

In order to promote the practical operation of a fleet of EV taxis, along with contributing to reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the companies are jointly developing a system to make taxi operations more effective and practical, and will conduct a demonstration test in cooperation with three local governments: Osaka Prefecture, Kyoto Prefecture, and Kyoto City.

Currently, EVs are limited by range and long battery-charging times, barriers which must be cleared in order to have effective EV taxi fleet operation. As part of the solution, the companies developed two applications: one that allows people to call for an EV taxi using a smart phone, and another for taxi drivers to respond to customers' calls using a tablet terminal in each vehicle. With the integrated management system containing the applications, customers can be more easily matched to an EV taxi in the optimal way.

The management system also collects information on the remaining battery level of each EV taxi and keeps track of nearby vacant charging stations, in order to provide accurate charging instructions to the drivers. Thus, the system makes it possible to reduce the unnecessary driving of EV taxis carrying no passengers plus reducing waiting time at charging stations, and create the most efficient business model for operating a fleet of EV taxis. The demonstration test will be conducted using two model cities, with Osaka being a city with an emphasis on commerce and Kyoto being a city with an emphasis on tourism.

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Posted: 2011/12/29 06:00:15 AM