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The Promotion of Micro-Mobility in Japan
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The Promotion of Micro-Mobility in Japan

The Challenge of Ultra-Compact Electric Vehicles

17 Seiten · 4,10 EUR
( October 06, 2020 )

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From Introduction:

There is no clear definition of micro-mobility, which for some is synonymous with personal mobility, while for others appears as a sub-category. In other words, for some it includes different types of vehicles, such as e-scooters and any electric cycles, along with new personal transport assistance robots, and even golf carts and electric wheelchairs. Although most European cities are flooded with all e-scooters, this is not the case in Japan, where they are not allowed yet apart from in very few incipient experiments. This study is therefore limited to micro-mobility understood as mobility using 3-4 wheeled 1-2 seater Ultra Compact Electric Vehicles (UC-EVs).

In 2010 (revised in 2014), the Japanese government set ambitious targets to serve as a basis for defining the measures to help the Next-Generation Vehicle market to take off. (...) It is difficult to say if the 2030 estimates are more realistic or not but, whatever the case, simply replacing petrol cars by BEVs or PHEVs will not solve all the challenges. As Fujimoto and Poland (2013) say, this traditional approach will just lead to “EVs in Society” while what is needed is a game-changing approach to build an “EV Society”, changing the meaning of what an automobile “is” or “can be”. Among all new mobility services emerging worldwide, UC-EVs, which are small and low-speed, might be seen as one of the solutions to change the game.

For the Japanese government they are seen as a suitable solution for addressing climate change and population ageing while complementing its vision of future mobility. The latter envisages very long trans-Japan trips reserved to fuel cell vehicles (FCEV: private cars, buses or trucks); medium-long distance interregional trips to hybrid and PHEVs; medium trips between not too distant cities to BEVs; and short trips (personal or delivery) in cities or rural/tourism areas to UC-EVs. For companies developing UC-EV models, they are seen, along with other personal mobility devices, as a new business opportunity and, especially for carmakers, as a new market segment which, if it develops in the future according to present forecasts, might compensate for the reduction in sales of conventional cars. Japan is of course not the only country where micro-mobility is at stake, but the importance given to the promotion of UC-EVs raises some questions when it comes to the real potential of such a market to develop. This is precisely what this chapter aims to discuss by empirically looking at both the present market situation (Section 2) and the results of policy measures taken to promote its creation (Section 3).

zitierfähiger Aufsatz aus ...
Firms, Institutions, and the State in East Asia
Cornelia Storz, Markus Taube (Hg.):
Firms, Institutions, and the State in East Asia
the author
Prof. em. Dr.  Yveline Lecler
Yveline Lecler

University of Lyon, Sciences Po Lyon and Institute of East Asian Studies (ENSL, CNRS), France.