Fleet News

Toyota tests future of commuting with zero emissions fleet system

TOYOTA is aiming to create a blueprint of a zero-emission public access car fleet with the launch next month of an electric vehicle commuter system called 'Crayon'. The firm will 'go live' with a fleet of 35 two-door electric vehicles, later to be increased to 50, which will be used by employees in Japan at first for testing.

Eight recharging stations have been set up, with six at its headquarters and two at the local heliport. A further two are planned. Around 300 users will have special cards for booking the cars, which have a range of 100 kilometres, and using them. Billing will be automatic. Users will also be able to book via office-based PCs.

Each vehicle carries a global positioning system (GPS) and mobile phone communications allowing it to be tracked between recharging stations. Toyota says its introduction is being considered in a number of locations, for business use in metropolitan areas and for tourist use in holiday areas, although there are no plans at present to extend testing outside Japan.

A spokesman said there were no plans to bring the system to the UK.

However, Toyota has already used the UK as a test bed for electric vehicles, with the launch of a six-strong electric fleet of RAV4s in Jersey in 1996. Toyota will use the experimental operation to improve the system and its hardware further. Opinions from a wide number of sources will be used to expand the range of applications in the future.

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