Yokohama City is teaming up with Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. (listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange) to drive “Yokohama Mobility Project Zero (YMPZ),” a five-year project designed to promote next-generation transport, thereby making Yokohama a low-carbon city. As part of this project, “Choimobi Yokohama” was launched on October 11 as a pilot program for a planned duration of year or so.
Experimental Project Backed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport
“Choimobi Yokohama” is an initiative under the YMPZ project run by Yokohama City. Launched in 2009, YMPZ was originally a five-year project led jointly by Yokohama City and Nissan Motor. It has become a comprehensive set of automobile transport measures designed to promote electric vehicles and eco-friendly driving, among others.
A key concept of YMPZ is “the establishment of new mobility,” as embodied by a number of initiatives including the “Two-Man Super-Compact Electrical Vehicle Demonstration Test.” “Choimobi Yokohama” is a key component in this test, being backed by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport to help drive its “Introduction and Promotion of Super-Compact Mobility” agenda.
The mobility envisioned under the “Choimobi Yokohama” project is realized in the form of the “Nissan New Mobility Concept Car,” a super-compact electric vehicle developed by Nissan Motor. Carrying lithium-ion batteries, the EV reaches a top speed of 80 km/h and is able to drive for approximately 100 km on a charging period of four hours. The compact vehicle, measuring 234 cm long, 123 cm wide and 145 cm high, has a passenger capacity of just two.
~Simple, Easy-to-Understand Operation and Driving~ “One-Way” Car Sharing
Choimobi pick-up/drop-off points, called “car stations,” are now found at approximately 45 car parks near Yokohama and Minato Mirai/Kannai stations, etc. Eventually there will be 70 car stations.
The traditional car-sharing services required the return of the car to the location where it was picked up. However, the latest car-sharing scheme is called the “one-way type,” in that the user can pre-book a desired station at which to drop off the car, even though it’s different from the station where it was picked up.
Service Fee of 20 Yen per Minute
One must be a registered member in order to use the Choimobi service, but there is no membership fee. The user simply logs on to the Choimobi site via a smartphone to register as a member, and then books a 60-minute seminar to learn about safe driving. (This seminar is provided at the gallery of Nissan’s Global Headquarters or at Pacifico Yokohama.) After the seminar, the user receives a membership card embedded with an IC chip and can start using the service right away. There are already more than 2,000 members, and the number is expected to grow. The service fee is 20 yen per minute, which can be paid via credit card. The attractive price, backed by the convenience of selecting a desired drop-off location, should make Choimobi a strong competitor to taxis, etc.