Toyota Motor Corp. will offer a car-sharing program to residents of three condominiums – two in Tokyo, and one in Nagoya, Japan – in Spring 2012, using its Prius Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV), as well as the iQ-based electric vehicle (EV) now under development.
With a total test fleet of six cars, Toyota will allocate two vehicles to each of the three condos. Residents will be able to book a reservation for a Toyota next-generation vehicle via mobile phone or personal computer. The Prius Plug-in Hybrids and “iQ”-based electric vehicle units will be serviced and managed by nearby Toyota vehicle rental and lease companies. Fees have yet to be decided.
Toyota, in collaboration with the condominium developers and IHI Transport Machinery Co. Ltd., a Tokyo-based parking facility purveyor, will design parking facilities and charging equipment. The three condominium developers are Nomura Real Estate Development Co. Ltd, Daikyo Incorporated, and Toyota Housing Corporation.
A report by Green Car Congress finds that, during the past five years, car- sharing has become more popular in Japan among people in urban areas who do not own cars, and it is also gaining public attention as a countermeasure against global warming and oil dependency. Among the companies that have offered car-sharing are Mazda Car Rental Corp. and Orix Auto Corp.
“In response to these trends, Toyota, aiming to connect people with a new way of using future vehicles, decided to carry out this car-sharing program using next-generation plug-in hybrids and electric vehicles,” said a Toyota statement. The Prius Plug-in Hybrid can be charged from any household electricity source and has an electric-only driving range of 14.5 miles on a full charge. Once the external charge is depleted, the vehicle operates as a conventional gasoline-electric hybrid, alleviating worry about remaining battery power and charging infrastructure availability. Toyota plans to launch the Prius Plug-in Hybrid by early 2012. The “iQ”-based EV – currently under development for a 2012 launch – has a range of 65 miles, positioning it as an appealing short-distance vehicle.
“Toyota views car-sharing programs as appropriate for short-distance needs and will investigate further methods to promote EV-use based on the results of this program,” the company stated.
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Edited by Jennifer Russell