Kitahiroshima and Toyota carry out experimental demonstration of small-scale walking-speed EVs
In early October, the City of Kitahiroshima in central Hokkaido – along with Toyota Motor Corporation and other companies – carried out an experimental demonstration of small-scale electric vehicles (EV) that operate at walking speed, at facilities for the elderly in the city. The demonstrations were conducted at the suggestion of the company that operates the “Hokkaido Ballpark F☆Village” (BP), which is scheduled to be opened by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham pro baseball team in the city in 2023. Representatives say they would like to consider using the Evs as a means of transportation for the elderly and within the BP.
The experimental demonstrations were initiated by the BP operating company Fighters Sports & Entertainment and were conducted from October 1 to 4 on special pedestrian/cycle lanes within a housing complex in Kitahiroshima, as well as at facilities for the elderly.
The small-scale Toyota EVs used this time were three types of single-seat tricycles that could be ridden standing, seated or connected to a wheelchair, the speeds of which ranged from two to 10 km/h.
On October 1, a 54-year-old man who test drove a wheelchair-connected type EV at the Kitahiroshima housing complex community interaction home “Furete” said, “You just push a button to go. It will make it easier to move up and down slopes and also help families that are caring for the elderly.”
The City is reviewing its transportation in anticipation of the opening of the BP, particularly with regard to securing transportation for the elderly as the population gets older, and is also considering introducing a system of sharing taxis that can be hailed using Smartphones.
There are no concrete plans as yet with regard to introducing the EVs that were tested this time but, according to the City’s Ball Park Promotion Division, EVs are one transportation option for those such as elderly residents who find it difficult walking to places where public transportation is available.
Opinions from residents who tested the EVs included “Some people only have the use of one hand so it would be good to have a brake lever on both sides.” A representative from Toyota said, “We hope to make improvements based on actual feedback.”
Kitahiroshima housing complex community interaction home “Furete”
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