Japanese Auto rickshaw0 Comments

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Posted on 23 Jul 2011 at 11:45am

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Green wheels:
Everything old is new again for one Japanese manufacturer who has unveiled an electronic version of a rickshaw.

 

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The ‘Meguru’ is a 3-wheel, 3-seat compact vehicle the single lithium-ion battery of which allows a maximum speed and range of 40 kilometers (25 miles) per hour, although the number of batteries could be increased for a longer ride.

 

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This is a true environmentally friendly car,” said Nobuyuki Ogura, the chief executive officer of Yodogawa Group, which built the vehicle in cooperation with three other small companies in western Japan.

 

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Instead of an air-conditioner, it comes with a pinwheel, and we are also thinking of adding a wind chime because it gives a refreshing sound to cool you down without the need of electricity,” he told Reuters Television. “It doesn’t have a heater, but it’s equipped with blankets to keep you warm in the winter.”

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A regular driver’s license is required to take the vehicle on the road, but car registration is unnecessary. Devised as part of a project to revitalise small businesses facing economic hardship, the vehicle – which is 2.5 meters (8 ft 2 in) long, 1.2 meters (3 ft 11 in) wide and 1.6 meters (5 ft 3 in) tall – also showcases traditional Japanese crafts.

 

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The body is coated in red lacquer, the floor is filled with recycled bamboo, and the retractable ‘window’ has been carefully crafted in the shape of a Japanese fan using Japanese ‘washi’ paper. All were made by craftsmen in western Japan. The company says it is selling the vehicle for around one million yen ($12,180) while assessing a business plan for mass production.

Even disposing of the car after its usefulness has passed poses no problems. “We’ve used all-natural materials, so if you ever decide to get rid of the car, just bury it,” says Ogura.

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