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Published on October 2nd, 2013 | by Cynthia Shahan


Choimobi Yokohama — Electric Carsharing Program For Yokohama Uses Ultracompact EVs From Toyota

A new partnership between Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. and the City of Yokohama — Choimobie Yokohama – is the newest addition to the Yokohama Mobility Project ZERO program (YMPZ). The Japanese word describing the idea of ‘easy mobility’ is “Choimobi.”

The YMPZ program intends to develop low-emission transportation possibilities for residents of the city. Residents can cars rent from and return them to any of 45 car pickup/return stations positioned in the midtown center of Yokohama. The Choimobi Yokohama plan is designed to be a one-way car sharing service that enables abundant availability of EVs. The usage charge will be ¥20/min (US$0.20/min).

Drive Me, Green Car Congress

“Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has launched a one-way car sharing service with the City of Yokohama that is the first of its kind in Japan to involve significant use of ultra-compact EVs,” Green Car Congress notes.

Toyota small EV

[T]his new service, which will be provided in the downtown core of Yokohama, will eventually employ up to 100 units of the Nissan New Mobility Concept ultra-compact electric vehicle. The main objectives of the year-long project are to reduce carbon emissions on public roads, improve the quality of transportation in the city, and promote tourism. With support from Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, Choimobi Yokohama  will begin with the use of 30 units of the Nissan New Mobility Concept and gradually increase that number to approximately 100 units in total. To date, there has been no other car sharing service in Japan that has used such a high number of ultra-compact EVs for this type of mobility project.

Many companies participate and serve this pioneering venture. Hitachi, Ltd contributed to the enrollment and reservation system for Choimobi Yokohama. Mitsui’s Repark of Mitsui Fudosan Realty Co., Ltd. as well as many other companies and tourist/public facilities are helping with parking facilities at the numerous car stations, which are essential ingredients in this scheme. When Choimobi is initiated, Nissan will be working with local public transportation service providers, shopping malls, condominium management associations, and local businesses to make sure the program runs as desired.

Nissan adds more:

As the leader in Zero Emissions mobility, Nissan, working under the Ultra-Compact Mobility Certification System of the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport, and Tourism, continues to seek opportunities to harness the potential of ultra-compact EVs toward improvements in urban transportation and living environments for commuters and people in general.

Choimobi Yokohama Service Information:

  1. 1. Project duration: One year from October 11, 2013
  2. 2. Cars: 100 units (plan) of NISSAN New Mobility CONCEPT
    *Plan is to begin with 30 units, then increase the numbers of units available to approximately 100 during the project period
  3. 3. Pick-up/drop-off locations (car stations): 70 locations centered around the Yokoyama Station, Minato Mirai, and Kannai areas in downtown Yokohama
    *Plan is to begin with 45 locations, then increase to 70 locations during the project period
    *Please visit (in Japanese only) for more details.
  4. 4. Driving area scope: Within the city of Yokohama
    *The vehicles are restricted from driving on expressways and highways
  5. 5. Usage charge: 20 JPY/minute
  6. 6. Process to enroll in the project:
    1) Enroll online through the service website for the project
    2) After registering, attending a safe driving class is required. The curriculum lasts about an hour. Class will be held at Nissan Global HQ or Pacifico Yokohama
    3) After the course is completed, a membership card will be provided to use the service
  7. 7. Usage requirements:
    1) Driver must possess a valid Japan driver’s license. This excludes international licenses and driver’s licenses issued outside of Japan
    2) Possess a smart phone that can receive e-mails
    3) Possess a Japan-issued credit card


  • Electric-powered vehicle with lithium-ion batteries
    Maximum speed: 80km/h
  • Length: 234 cm, Width: 123cm, Height: 145cm,
    Vehicle weight: 500kg; passenger capacity: 2 people

Note: Nissan’s announcement is being issued at the same time as announcements about the project from its partners, the City of Yokohama, Hitachi Ltd. and Mitsubishi Fudosan Realty Co.

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  • Conrad Clement

    I test-drove this Renault Twizy and had fun with it driving on a flat highway stretch at 86 km an hour — but the concept appears to be flawed on purpose, the problem being the doors. The local dealer told me: “If you are a bit of a tinkerer, you can easily retrofit these doors with windows”. Alas, after careful examination of the door design, it appeared to me just impossible to add windows ensuring protection against airflow and rain. Another built-in flaw is the unexplainable absence of a rear window.

    Nissan and Renault may know that the motorcar’s only sustainable future is the mini-city EV — yet at the same time they want to withhold this future from us (i.e. the fully autonomous manned “drone” for personal intercity mobility) as long as possible…

  • James Szypula

    With those requirements I don’t see how this’ll do anything for the stated goal of attracting tourists. Expanding and improving the Yokohama bike share system and infrastructure would be more useful, safer, less costly and greener. But there is no money in it for Nissan so can’t have that! The powers that be in Japan love nothing more than a good boondoggle.

  • arne-nl

    The header seems to incorrectly state that compact cars from Toyota are being used. Going by the content and the pictures, they are from Nissan. The car shown is a Nissan-badged Renault Twizy.

  • Ronald Brakels

    I’ll mention that the top speed of 80 km an hour may be a limitation in law and not the actual top speed of the vehicle. In Japan small “yellow plate” cars aren’t supposed to go over 80 km/h. (This is something that I personally find odd, as requiring a class of cars to go slower than others seems dangerous to me, but they seem okay with it in Japan.)

    • Bob_Wallace

      In California we have NEVs, neighborhood electric vehicles, which are not allowed on road with higher than 35 MPH limits. People scoot around towns in them.

      Required to have four wheels a “Within one mile can reach a speed of more than 20 miles per hour (mph) but not more than 25 mph on a paved level surface.”.

      Cities use them for local stuff like parking enforcement.

      • Ronald Brakels

        These Japanese vehicles sound a lot nippier than NEVs. Of course, in Japanese towns fast cars are not terribly useful. I once witnessed a high speed car chase in Japan. Because of the narrrow winding streets neither the pursuded or the police managed to get above 30 kilometers an hour.

    • Altair IV

      From what I’ve seen, there aren’t that all that many places here where it’s even possible to go faster than that anyway, outside of the major highways, and often not even there. This is a very crowded country without much in the way of straight, open roads. 80kph isn’t a very imposing restriction for most people.

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