YOKOHAMA, Japan – Shoppers are in full force despite snow in north Yokohama, where Nissan's New Mobility Concept vehicle is taking a step closer to the roads of Japan – and the hands of consumers.
Tokyu Corporation joined Nissan and the city in the final year of its Yokohama Mobility Project Zero, to increase low-carbon transportation locally.
Nissan's 100-percent electric vehicles– namely, the LEAF – and now its two-seater mobility cousin are the perfect size- and volume – for the narrow shopping and neighborhood streets of suburban Japan.
Perfect even for mom.
Seven mothers test drove the EVs for the first time in the falling snow.
The volunteers will use the new mobility concept vehicles at home for two weeks – taking 4-hour, full charges from their home sockets – to shop, take kids to the train, and entertain.
The test trial is supported by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism and an official Akihiko Hoshi said they're trying to make the concept vehicle a reality on the road.
"This kind of vehicle is still very new in Japan, so I think it is important to take time to teach people how to use it safely," said Hoshi. "We are planning to have a trial period of three years first, and hope that by 2015 the infrastructure associated with the vehicle will be in place so that we can officially launch it."
After two laps, trial participant Yoko Sonobe, said she wanted to take it home.
"We own a big, eight-seater car, and it always seems a little over the top to use it for such small things as going shopping," said Sonobe. "But if I had something this compact, it's much less of a hassle to drive the children around or to run small errands to the supermarket."
The New Mobility Concept might be small, but Nissan hopes it has a big impact on low-carbon transportation in Japan – with a little help from mom and dad.
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