Toyota has been on a bit of a tear lately when it comes to examining the intersection of transportation and sustainability. It, for example, showcased at the recent Shanghai Motor Show the FT-HT hybrid concept and also unveiled the all-electric Me.We vehicle as a study in ecological responsibility.
Now word comes of an electric charging station in Japan which not only functions as a central point for electric vehicle sharing, but can also generate and store its own electrical power.
Toyota’s new Smart Mobility Park electric mobility charging station is located in Toyota Ecoful Town, a low-carbon society model district located in Toyota City. It is based upon a concept unveiled by the Japanese automaker back at the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show and is centered around two main ideas:
- As an electric mobility sharing hub, it is a place which local residents can come to make use of EV sharing for short distance travels. It will be tied to a Ha:mo Ride station, which is designed to help commuters get those last few miles from the nearest public transportation point to a final destination. The station will be outfitted with three Toyota COMS compact, single-occupant electric vehicles and five Yamaha PAS power-assisted bicycles that can be automatically rented “through the use of IC cards for authentication and vehicle unlocking.”
- As an energy storage facility, it is equipped with solar panels and lead acid batteries with a total storage capacity of 7.8 kWh that, in tandem, lets electric vehicles be charged either via independently generated electricity or power-grid electricity, depending upon which is more in abundance. General household power outlets are available for use, and station displays show electricity-related information such as generation and storage, power grid usage and vehicle charging status.
These sustainable technology advances Toyota is working on in Toyota City are nothing new. Besides testing the Ha:mo Ride station since last year, four vehicle stations have been set up locally at Chukyo University and its nearest public transport points to provide 11 COMS and 10 PAS units for use.
And, in addition, come this autumn, the service area will be expanded to central Toyota City to provide a fee-based service “using approximately 100 ultra-compact single-occupant EVs and 100 power-assisted bicycles at 20 stations for 1,000 members.”
* Nino Marchetti, EarthTechling