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If you want to take a taxi in Tokyo, you now have an electric option. At least if you are in the Otemachi, Marunouchi or Yurakucho districts between the daytime hours of 8:30 and 5:30. The Hinomaru Limosine Company is adding a pair of Mitsubishi i MiEVs to its fleet, making it the first in Japan's capitol to offer an electric vehicle for hire. The fare will be the same 710 yen ($7.85 at today's rate) for the first two kilometers (1.24 miles) as the company's other taxis, though they will principally be driven by women able to provide their customers with local area and tourist information. They will also feature a pleasant aromatic oil to help you relax. No, really.

While they may be the first in Tokyo, they will not be the last. Although not on the road yet, another company and Better Place have been working since January to prepare cars and a battery-swapping station for a similar scheme. The ZeRO TAXI service, in the meantime, will be officially launched this Thursday with a ceremony at the Mitsubishi building in Marunouchi followed by some complimentary drives for the attending media.

[Source: Hinomaru Limosine Company via Green Car Congress]


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  • 22 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      David -- the iMiev is several inches narrower than the Colt. (A near neighbour of mine has the existing petrol version). I like the iMiev, and I like electric taxis - but the two thiongs don't really go together, except for tiny people with no luggage, no kiddiebuggies, no shopping bags, etc.

      I'm expecting America to go for the Ford Transit Connect EV taxi in cities. A much more practical offering.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The big Canadians are coming! Eat, Americans, eat!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Sweet!
      Too bad us fat Americans wouldn't fit in the thing.

      Electric light rail would still be a crapton better though.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I am greatly confused, lol
        • 5 Years Ago
        AAh, it is good to be the king, the fat king that is. We Americans are Vikings when it comes to fat content, we are better than all other nations, something the NAFTA, nor any other exportation law can take away. We have complete dominance in this field of expertise perhaps never to be supplanted.

        I have recently become fat, been skinny all my life, I keep saying no problem because I know I can become skinny again but a er, it's time to start doing something, seems I may be in a runaway car here. Notice, I did not say Prius!

        I will have to Google on "Tardis" David Martin, it seems a funny name for a car. No more than the VW's "Thing", I guess. Is Tardis a fish? Doge bore a "Colt" in the late 70's.

        "A TARDIS or TT Capsule was the main kind of space-time vehicle used by the Time Lords."

        Now that ought to sell some vehicles! You guys believe in "Time Lords", in England? lol
        Oh, I see "Doctor Who", I have watched about 5 episodes of that, it was ok once you watched it a bit.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Evidently the inside of David Martin's car looks like a Tardis.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TARDIS

        The Tardis is a fictional craft from the series "Doctor Who". "Doctor Who" must be a approximately 30 year old English science fiction series on TV, maybe older? Who would have thought to name a car after a science fiction space ship? Geely Motors out of China produced the "King Kong", a large sedan, it was a number one seller in China a year or two back. GM needs to produce a car called the Enterprise or Stargate.

        TheTom, my translator isn't translating. It will speak the words to me however.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Go Mitsubishi!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Heh. I once asked a cabbie here in Vancouver how many kilometers he does in a day because I was curious about the feasibility of this kind of thing.

      Answer: About 400. (that's about 250 miles for the 'mericans here)

      Those taxis may have downtime significant enough to provide charging opportunities between fares, but I'm still kind of skeptical about the feasibility of this kind of service. Maybe the distances are shorter in Japan, but around here batteries aren't there quite yet. I have hope for the future.

      As an aside, we have a "green" taxi company here too... it's called Yellow Cab. Their taxi fleet is probably about 50% hybrids, and they're the dominant cab company here.
      • 5 Years Ago
      I've driven the Misubishi Colt, which is the same size.
      It's a Tardis inside, and will fit in fat Americans fine, as it does fat Brits (officially the fattest folk in Europe, and closing in fast on Americans!)
        • 5 Years Ago
        Fat Brits?!? Is it all the bangers and mash?

        I do admit to being addicted to fish and chips myself.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Just to be clear, I test drove one, I didn't buy it.
        I own the massive VW Polo, which is one size down from the Rabbit!
        It's not a Tardis, but the rear seats are OK for a couple of adults for short journeys.
        They also do a mini-MPV on the same wheel-base, the Fox, which is a Tardis.
        http://www.volkswagen.co.uk/#/new/fox
        I don't understand the Smart, where you loose an awful lot of utility for a not much shorter car.

        Incidentally, my brother had a Tardis, aka the old British phone box, in his back garden, in case he fancied teleporting across a galaxy or two!
        It pays to be prepared!
        • 5 Years Ago
        TheTom, I think David Martin said, "it is a Tardis inside", because it is large inside and will fit fat Brits into it. I thought it was the name of a car. In other words Mitsubishi Colt on the outside and Tardis styling on the inside. Now I think Tardis is not a cars name but instead Tardis is used as a description for large space. I have read that the Mitsubishi's Jelly Bean is roomy-er on the inside than expected. The imeve is called the Colt overseas.

        Everyone start eating! The British are coming and they will outweigh us! David Martin said they are closing in fast on us, eat, eat! We must stay ahead of the curve! President Obama said he won't stand for being second to other nations!
        • 5 Years Ago
        I don't know about the fat Brits, but I blame the fat Americans on 'American Idle' :-)
      • 5 Years Ago
      hey, Canadians are getting fat too.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Takushii o yonde kudasai

      Arigato
        • 5 Years Ago
        We have a green cab company here in my city, appropriately called "Green Cab". They use Toyota Prius and Camry Hybrids, and I recommend them to my guests quite frequently. They seem to do very well, with their only serious competition being "Black Cabs" which use the Traditional London cabs that have been imported over.

        Oh, and The Tom - the TARDIS is not a phone booth, it is a Police Box. Different things, but I can see why you might get them confused. I'm a big Dr. Who fan from way back. :)
        • 5 Years Ago
        The Tom

        The poor logic in that idea is that if you do make the ICE taxis wait you have the taxis that pollute the most idling the longest, so you make them pollute even more while they wait. The ICE taxis should be the ones that get in and out the fastest, so that you minimize localized air pollution.

        Likewise, BEV taxis would be the ones that would most benefit from a 30-minute (or whatever) wait, so they could get a quick recharge.
        • 5 Years Ago
        LOL EVsuper.
        Yeah, tobacco resin with a faint note of hobostink
        Sorta like the 'new car smell', but for taxicabs.

        Electric cabs would be really cool if we had a killer charging infrastructure where they could wait for passengers while charging.
        • 5 Years Ago
        @ TheTom

        あなたがタクシです!


        どういたしまして
        • 5 Years Ago
        How about this from Dallas. "The [Dallas city] council passed an ordinance that allows taxis fueled by compressed natural gas (CNG) the right to jump to the head of the line at Love Field. Cabbies who don't drive on CNG will have to wait at the back of the line to pick up passengers. A similar policy has been in effect at DFW Airport since November of last year."
        http://cbs11tv.com/local/dallas.taxi.cab.2.1552612.html

        Electric taxis should be able to jump to the front of the line as well.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Sorry I forgot that not everyone can just highlight a phrase and select to translate. It's Japanese for "Please call a taxi for me. Thanks." - taxi.. call [honorific, on the telephone].. please... thanks...

        On the Tardis, David said his Mitsubishi Colt is like a Tardis inside. That would be huge, actually. A Tardis looks like a British phone booth from the 1960s (do they still use them???) on the outside but once you go inside it is very large (due to some dimensional techno wizardry of some sort). So, small outside, huge inside. I think David meant his Colt is smallish, not trans-dimensional. That from only watching 10 or so eps of the original plus about 5 or 6 of the new (condolences on the loss of the first new guy).
        • 5 Years Ago
        Letstalkawalk thinks I need help on my reading comprehension skills. You are not helping TheTom.

        I wonder how a green cab company would go over here in the US? If it were my cab company here in the USA I would replace the relaxing oil smell with stale cigarette smoke smell so my patrons would feel at home.
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