Friday, 26 September 2014

Japan: Nissan One Way Car Sharing Scheme Extended Last October, Nissan launched an EV initiative in the city of Yokohama called the One-Way Car Sharing Service, and Green Car Congress reports that the program has been extended another year after more than 10,000 people signed up for the service.

In total, 10,651 people had joined the service, which had capped expectations at 10,000 users between 131 stations spread out between 63 different locations. The average ride lasted just 16 minutes and covered just 1.9 miles in the New Mobility Concept EV, which looks a whole lot like a Renault Twizy. Seeing as how Renault and Nissan are tied at the hip, I think it’s a pretty safe assumption to make.

The next phase of the car-sharing study aims to better integrate local businesses, shopping centers, and public transportation stations. Ultimately, Nissan hopes to develop a free-standing business model it can expand for use in other large cities, and is also introducing new efficiency measures to improve the program. This includes a reduction from 70 vehicles to just 50, though the small EVs are still restricted from highway use (a good call since the top speed is just 50 MPH). Two new payment systems are also being introduced with Phase 2; Plan A costs a monthly fee of about ¥1,000, or $9.17, which includes 50 minutes of driving per month, while each additional minute costs ¥20, or about 18-cents.

Plan B has no monthly fee, though rates are set at about 28-cents per minute. This plan is aimed at tourists who may only be passing through and don’t need a monthly membership. Might such a system ever gain a following in the US? If the price was right, it could prove to be a popular alternative for bike-wary tourists and urbanites alike.