The Tsukuba Environmental Project is the result of a newly announced partnership between Itochu, Mazda and other leading Japanese companies. The project will see the conversion of three Mazda 2 models to plug-in battery power to test and evaluate the vehicles’ resilience in busy Tsukuba City daily commuter traffic.
Ener1’s cutting-edge rapid charging technologies, secondary applications of EV batteries, the use of renewable energy for battery charging and new car-sharing initiatives will also be tested as part of the project.
THINK CEO, Richard Canny, said: “Japan is quickly becoming one of the most forward- thinking countries in the world when it comes to electric vehicle technologies. Already this year we have supplied the Japan Postal Service – through Japanese System Integrator Zero Sports – with our THINK and Ener1 EV drive-train system for the testing of a new fleet of electric postal vehicles.”
He continued: “THINK’s latest generation integrated EV drive controller will power the new Mazda 2 test vehicles, further demonstrating our leadership in electric vehicle technology. This is a very exciting initiative, especially with the ancillary tests being conducted into the use of renewable energy sources and secondary applications of EV batteries – watch this space.”
Ener1’s Chairman and CEO, Charles Gassenheimer, added: “This is the second big opportunity we have had to work with our partners at Think Global to develop a complete drive-train system for a third party customer. EnerDel has worked hard to build upstream and downstream relationships with the industry’s leading companies around the world that give us a crucial edge as these growing markets converge.”
Initially developed for the THINK City, this proprietary EV drive-train system unites THINK’s industry-leading EV drive system with Ener1’s award-winning lithium-ion battery technology. It is the first of its kind to provide off-the-shelf availability combined with customized performance in a wide variety of potential EV applications.