Daiichi Koutsu Sangyo (DKS), Mitsubishi Auto Leasing (MAL), and Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) have commenced operations of a next-generation taxi business in Japan’s Fukuoka Prefecture.
The ultimate goal of the three companies is to use this project as a springboard to promote the electrification of the Japanese taxi industry.
The new taxi business features large electric vehicle (EV) fleets, solar-power equipment, and a renewable energy-management system. It has been developed to both help improve local transportation services and decarbonize the country’s taxi industry.
The partners said there is a pressing need to electrify Japan’s taxis, partly due to the diminishing number of service stations that can provide the liquefied petroleum gas to run current fleets, but also because of the government’s 2030 goal to cut CO2 emissions from the country’s transportation sector by 35% (compared to 2013 levels).
Up to now, there have been efforts in Japan’s taxi industry to introduce EVs, however, they have been relatively small-scale operations involving just a few vehicles. The Fukuoka project partners claim their new operation is unique in that its objective is to create a management model for large EV fleets that can be used at different dispatch centres.
DKS, MAL, and MC said activities at the Fukuoka Prefecture operations will be extensive, encompassing work to maximise the use of solar power and further reduce the centre’s carbon footprint and operating costs. They also hope to make the EV taxi operations more resilient to power outages and other problems resulting from natural disasters.
In addition, the trio’s project to build a model EV taxi industry that is adaptable to the diverse operating conditions in Japan’s taxi industry, the project will also involve delivering EVs to three select members of “No. 1 Taxi,” Japan’s largest taxi network spanning roughly 700 companies and 40,000 vehicles.