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Battery Operated Tokyo Taxi Moves Technology Forward

Japanese pilot program uses replaceable battery technology to keep vehicles on the road without delay. No more waiting for the charge, or switching to fossil fuel to get where you need to go.

Tokyo, Japan, wants to be the capital of electric vehicles.  And it looks like they might have a good start.  This spring, the country put three changeable-battery operated vehicles on the road for a test drive.

The 90-day program is a joint project between Japan’s Energy Agency and Better Place, a US firm specializing in providing electric vehicle infrastructure. The newly designed taxis, based on the Nissan Dualis, operate on a battery that is designed to be removed and swapped for a fresh battery each time the car needs a charge.

A fully charged battery is installed in the vehicle at a battery stop station and away the driver goes, until the next time the car needs a new charge.  The whole process takes about 90 seconds––roughly equal to a NASCAR pit stop.

For consumers, the drawback of battery operated cars has always been the inconvenience of frequent stops to recharge.  For manufacturers, standardization of battery size and placement has impeded better battery technology.  With the new Tokyo taxi, battery technology has become both convenient and cost effective.

Traditional Tokyo taxis can rack up about 187 miles each day, according to Kiyotaka Fujii, president of the Japanese unit of Better Place. Improved battery technology can help lower operating cost significantly, as well as reducing carbon emissions, making the program attractive to government and citizen alike.

Tokyo is one of the world’s largest taxi markets, with more than 60,000 cabs on the road each day.  And while taxis represent only 2% of all passenger vehicles in Tokyo, they account for about 20% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from vehicles annually.

The Japanese taxi program proves that there is a battery operated car solution that could make both car manufacturers and consumers happy.  And even though the translation from battery-taxi to private vehicle may take a little while, I’m sure we’ll get there.  In the mean time… taxi anyone?!

About Sebrina Zerkus Smith

Professional writer, foodie. Lupus survivor. Loves pugs, wine, days at the beach and good movies. Takes recycling seriously, but not much else. Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.


One thought on “Battery Operated Tokyo Taxi Moves Technology Forward

  1. Doesn’t Shanghai already have “battery taxis”? Seems to me, a wasted step in the evolution to trams, subways, Thorium fueled LFTR reactors, making electricity for bullet trains and their associated human infrastructures, that will include electric short haul transportation, built in? China intends “Daisy Chaining” such structures Pan-Eurasia, and are doing so as fast as technological advances, material availability, labor, will allow!Remember: These operate Oil Free! Google Tsinghua University China, Pebble bed gas reactors, for a peak at a totally safe, cheap to build, up and running, Chinese designed reactor! They are so far ahead of the U.S. in this field, American scientists cannot understand, therefore cannot validate or discredit Chinese advances! The even have a CANDU reactor fueled with Thorium – why Thorium? Google this! To understand why U.S. makes no progress, Google documentary, “Who Stole The Electric Car” – witness the ‘corporate constipation’ yourself! America had a proven electric car! GM and Exxon fricked it up!

    Posted by Bruce Miller | August 10, 2011, 5:58 pm

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