Toyota Motor Corp. Expands Car Sharing Tests in Japan

The Ha:mo Ride EV-sharing station. Starting this month, four unmanned stations will be established in Toyota City.
The Ha:mo Ride EV-sharing station. Starting this month, four unmanned stations will be established in Toyota City.

Toyota Motor Corp. (TMC), in cooperation with the Toyota City, Japan municipal government, transportation companies and others, announced on Oct. 1 that it began tests of an urban transportation system called “Ha:mo.”

The system will select optimal means of transport for users based on the operational status of public transport systems and traffic conditions, TMC said. In addition, car sharing stations are to be installed at four locations within Toyota City, providing a car sharing service using “COMS” ultra-compact single-occupant electric vehicles (EVs) manufactured by Toyota Auto Body Co. Ltd.

The system for the tests comprises two elements: “Ha:mo Navi,” which links transportation systems to enable a seamless search for transportation routes, and “Ha:mo Ride”, an ultra-compact EV sharing service designed to accommodate short-distance travel in urban areas.

Ha:mo Navi

Ha:mo Navi smartphone application home screen (left) and suggested route screen (right).

Ha:mo Navi smartphone application home screen (left) and suggested route screen (right).

Ha:mo Navi provides transportation alternatives based on forecasts of transportation supply and demand, and also links independently operated public transportation and cars, according to TMC.

Operation of the following Ha:mo Navi services will begin this month:

  • Multi-modal route guide for smartphones that searches for the optimal combination of multiple means of transport — such as trains, buses, cars and taxis — while taking into consideration traffic congestion.
  • Provision of park-and-ride facility information, such as parking space availability, when personal vehicle use is included in a search.
  • Provision of “eco-points” based on park-and-ride facility and public transportation use.

Integrating Ha:mo with Current TMC Car Sharing Initiatives

In June 2011, TMC announced a six-car pilot program also in Toyota City and in Aichi in partnership with Nomura Real Estate Development Co. Ltd., Daikyo Inc. and Toyota Housing Corp. The program provided six Prius Plug-in Hybrids to three condominiums and aims at testing an energy data management system (EDMS) to lower overall transportation system energy use.

The condominium pilot program is being managed by nearby Toyota vehicle rental and leasing locations.

The collaboration between the EDMS and new Ha:mo program will include transportation route calculations that consider the battery status of plug-in hybrid vehicles (PHEVs) of households participating in the project, as well as regional electric power demand.

Ha:mo Ride

Ha:mo Ride will seek to provide users vehicle and public transportation for short-distance travel from a train station to the user’s destination through the sharing of ultra-compact EVs. The initiative is also a part of the EDMS trials.

Starting in October 2012, unmanned vehicle-sharing stations will be established at four locations in Toyota City — two at Chukyo University and one each at Josui Station on the Nagoya Railroad and Kaizu Station on the Aichi Loop Line. A one-way travel car sharing service will run among the vehicle stations with ten COMS EVs.

The service will initially be available to approximately 100 members made up of Chukyo University students and employees, who will use smartphones for vehicle reservations and IC cards for vehicle access. To promote wide and regular use, there will be no charge for the first year of service.

Plans call for the service area to be extended throughout central Toyota City, with the number of stations to be increased to between 10 and 20, the number of vehicles to approximately 100 and the number of members to approximately 1,000. At that time, Ha:mo is planned to be changed to a fee-based service.

In the near future, the route information provided by Ha:mo Navi will be combined with the EV sharing information provided by Ha:mo Ride to give users access to integrated route information and travel history-based recommendations.

Inclusion of Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd. electric commuter bikes and electrically power-assisted bicycles in the system is also being considered. TMC also plans, within the EDMS framework, to promote off-peak power use through the management of vehicle charging.

The Ha:mo tests were selected as part of the Next-Generation Energy and Social System Demonstration Projects sponsored by Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. The tests are being conducted under the Toyota City Low-Carbon Verification Project in cooperation with: Aichi Loop Line Co. Ltd.; Aichi Rapid Transit Co. Ltd.; Chukyo University; Hitachi Ltd.; Meitetsu Bus Co. Ltd.; Meitetsucom Co. Ltd.; Meitetsu Kyosho Ltd.; Nagoya Railroad Co. Ltd.; Toyota City; and Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd.

The term Ha:mo is being given to TMC-developed systems that seek to provide a “harmonious mobility” network among people and where they live.


Related news: Few Residents in Japan Report Using Car Sharing


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