Amidst the rising trend of electric commercial vehicles, Chiyoda Ward-based automotive research and development company Tokyo R&D is following through on its electric delivery vehicle fleet promised in the fall of last year. The practical tests of the trucks — the first ever in Japan — started this week in Tsukuba City.
The twelve-month practical evaluation, titled ‘The Development and Adoption of Electric Vehicles as Delivery Trucks’, was initially selected as a 2011 Technological Development to Counteract Global Warming. It’s part of an initiative taken by the Ministry of the Environment to reduce carbon emissions, and Tsukuba City, with its reputation as a center of scientific research, is the perfect place to test a fleet of electric trucks.
The Groceries Come in Silence
The guinea pig for the electric delivery fleet is supermarket giant Kasumi, which has stores concentrated mainly in the northern Kanto area (northwest of Tokyo). The trucks will be outfitted as mobile sales centers, bearing the Kasumi logo, and filled with Kasumi products. They hit the streets of Tsukuba on Monday.
Also still very much with the project are ITOCHU and Tokyo’s Institute of Applied Sciences, which initially collaborated in the slightly unusual twist this project takes: none of the test vehicles were built as electric from the ground up. Instead, in order to make proper use of the resources at hand, the four companies named developed a special conversion kit meant specifically for delivery trucks (and yes, you can buy the same kit for your truck).
The twelve-month evaluation project will test the feasibility of the kits just as much as it tests how well EVs work as delivery trucks in the field. All information gathered during these twelve months will be carefully evaluated before any further decisions are made. While I applaud both Tokyo R&D and Kasumi for this test run of electric trucks, I can’t help but wonder if they’re making their move soon enough, or quickly enough. What do you think? Let us know in the comments, below.
Charis Michelsen spent 7 years living in Germany and Japan, studying both languages extensively, doing translation and education with companies like Bosch, Nissin, Fuji Heavy, and others. Charis has a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and currently lives in Chicago, Illinois. She also believes that Janeway was the best Star Trek Captain.