Ultra-compact vehicles (micro mobility) have been in use for some time in Europe, but with a new certification process allowing micro mobility vehicles to be used on public roads from February 2013, the push for the micro mobility project has been gaining momentum in Japan.
Conventionally, cars have developed as a way to carry many people and lots of luggage for long distances. However, with the urbanization of cities, as well as the concentration of people and cars in recent years, Micro Mobility has gained attention as a mode of transport that allows for quick easy transportation and parking.
For example, the "Liaison Council for the Experimental Demonstration of Ultra-compact Electric Vehicles" composed of the City of Nagoya, Toyota Auto Body Co., Ltd., and JAPAN POST Co., Ltd. has started delivery services at the Nagoya Central Post Office from June 2015 using the single-passenger "COMS" (Toyota Auto Body, Co., Ltd.) ultra-compact EV. While the commercial "COMS" had a maximum carrying capacity of 30kg (treated as a moped), after receiving approval on the "Micro Mobility Authorization System" by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, the vehicle became recognized as a kei car, increasing the maximum carrying capacity to 60kg. This will allow for improved practicality of the vehicle. As a note, this was the first experiment in Japan utilizing micro-mobility vehicles as a courier vehicle.
In addition, as a part of Yokomaha City, Kanagawa Prefecture's "Yokohama Mobility Project ZERO (YMPZ)", 100 micro mobility EVs are being used in the "Choi Mobi Yokohama" car-sharing service through collaboration between Nissan and Yokohama City, a first effort of this scale in Japan.
Looking overseas, congested parking spaces, traffic during commutes, and traffic restrictions to protect historic cities has been a big issue to many citizens in cities in France and Italy. There is a much bigger need for micro mobility solutions in these cities, and many manufacturers have already been successful in creating many micro mobility vehicles even before the adoption of EV technologies.
Current micro mobility vehicles work well together with EV technology. For example, Micro mobility vehicles are able to use 15kW or lower batteries which allows for a large tax reduction in France. Even with these small batteries, the vehicles are able to have enough acceleration, important in city driving, reach 80km/h, and able to help reduce the problematic pollution in cities, creating possibilities for even more adoption.
It is predicted that these micro mobility vehicles will become more and more vital to cities, as urbanization, congestion of people and cars continue to increase.
At "Station Core", placed in the center of SMC2015 and explains the new technology and systems related to cities and traffic, will provide various ways that micro mobility vehicles will contribute to society. A "Test-Ride" course will be set up in the outdoor truck yard, allowing visitors to experience the fun and safe new mobility solutions in life-like situations.