Transportation / Mobility

November 6, 2013


Honda Motor Co. Partners with Saitama City on Ultra Lightweight Vehicle Experiment

Keywords: Aging Society Local government Manufacturing industry Transportation / Mobility 

Saitama City, in Saitama Prefecture, and Honda Motor Co. announced a joint venture project on July 18, 2013, based on the concept of cooperation on new mobility development and city-planning. It was selected in June as one of a number of ultra lightweight vehicle (ULV) promotion projects by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, to mainly focus on urban traffic issues, and will include various experiments to explore the uses and anticipated needs of ULVs as part of the transportation mix.

In this experimental project, which will utilize ultra-compact electric vehicles (EVs) developed by Honda, the potential of ULVs will be tested for different uses, for example, as a daily support system to transport elderly people short distances or as a car-sharing service for commuters and businesses, plus their ability to act as a household storage battery. The implications for city planning, including infrastructure construction, to realize these possibilities will also be examined.

Saitama City has already implemented various EV promotion measures in partnership with different stakeholders, with the aim of creating a more sustainable society and being a low-carbon city. Honda has also signed comprehensive agreements with Kumamoto Prefecture and the city of Miyakojima, in Okinawa Prefecture, to conduct social experiments using ultra-compact EVs, and have been working together on specific plans. Honda is planning to implement the efforts tailored to each region together with three municipalities, including Saitama Prefecture, from autumn 2013 onwards.