Saheli*: Musings and Observations
Friday, December 17, 2004
 
In Which Saheli Wishes She Could Read Japanese

Gizmodo has a tantalizing image up: a Yamaha pedal taxi (seats 3?)that appears to have solar panels on the roof and an electric motor to help out the driver's leg muscles. If we could only add the ability to recover energy from braking, we would have a maha-hybrid. Apparently the vehicles will be made for next year's World Expo in Japan, because regular taxis won't be allowed on the sprawling fair grounds. But I think it would be fun to have one to tool around town, just about anywhere. Gizmodo got the link from Soroban Geeks, who links to this potentially more informative Japanese story. Running the link itself through the Google Translate A Webpage didn't get me very far, but copying and pasting the characters into the translate tool at least confirmed the basics:

As for Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. December 16th of 2004, " 2005 year Japanese international exposition " (love * terrestrial Hiroshi, session: Is utilized the " bicycle taxi " was announced March 25th of 2005 - September 25th) as the portable tool inside the meeting place. It had electromotive assist mechanism, by " the rickshaw ", Yamaha receiving the request from foundation bicycle industrial Association, it produced. With the electromotive assist bicycle which adopts the hybrid bicycle technology " PAS " of the same company, with driver 1, placing 2 people in the rear seat, it is possible to run. Inside the meeting place for coexisting with the pedestrian, it travels with approximately the speed per hour 5km. As for development concept " it is theme of the exposition, ' the nature 叡 Satoshi ' and it is enterprise purpose of the Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., ' impression creation ' with harmony ". As for appearance, you say it was compatible " longing " and the " future impression ", combining the surface which has soft curved line and hard impression with FRP technology. In addition, you use natural material such as flax and ligneous fiber to interior. Using the transparent material in the roof section, it emphasized one bodily sensation of the external space. As for body size total length 2950× full 1250× total height 1780mm, as for body weight 160kg. 7 total producing, it delivers in the exposition. With same Hiroshi, other than the Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd., Bridgestone and national bicycle industry, the VELOTAXI JAPAN (NPO corporate body environmental symbiotic city propulsion association) has produced the respective electromotive assist functional equipped bicycle taxi, the schedule which is used inside the meeting place. (Duck 沢 pale blue = Infostand) * Web sight http: of related information * Aichi international exposition Web sight http: of //www.expo2005.or.jp/ * Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. //www.yamaha-motor.co.jp/

I thought that was actually pretty impressive, considering Japanese grammar must be quite different from English grammar. This translation worries me that the "solar panels" are not actually solar panels but merely sleek black roof decor. Regardless, though, it looks pretty awesome.

UPDATE: Thanks to Benjamin D. in comments, most of my questions have been better answered. The bike involves a lot of natural fibers and feel good design elements, and the motor is electric, which it makes it more adaptable to using sustainable energy. That said there are no solar panels, and definitely no braking-energy recovery systems, so it's using straight human-motor hybrid power. Ah well.
 


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Saheli Datta started this when she was a journalism student at Columbia in New York. Now she lives in the Bay Area. *Old people call me R. New people, call me Saheli. Thanks! My homepage. Specifically, my links. Email me: Saheli [AT] Gmail [dot] Com

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