Yamato Transport is working to reduce environmental burden in all areas of its express home delivery operations through a series of initiatives which include: restricting the size of its delivery vehicle fleet; introducing low-emission delivery vehicles; promoting eco-friendly driving habits; reducing driving distances and promoting modal shift*.
The Yamato Transport fleet comprises around 45,000 vehicles and the company is intent on contributing to the realization of a low-carbon society through the active introduction of next-generation eco-friendly vehicles. (As at the end of March 2010, the fleet included 11,538 low-emission vehicles, of which 4,659 utilize hybrid propulsion systems.)
MMC is the pioneering manufacturer in the field of mass-produced electric vehicles with lithium ion batteries. The company launched the i-MiEV new-generation electric vehicle to the Japanese market in July 2009 targeting corporate, government and local authorities. In April of this year MMC started sales of i-MiEV to individual owners.
The electric car with lithium ion batteries is the ultimate eco-car because its zero CO2 tailpipe emissions allow it to effectively address such environmental issues as air pollution, global warming and the shift away from oil. By adding a light commercial vehicle to its EV lineup – which, unit for unit, clock longer life-cycle driving distances than passenger cars – MMC is aiming to do its part to quickly make possible a low-carbon society.
Yamato Transport has been studying the use of commercial EVs which, of all next-generation vehicles, hold high promise for making possible a low-carbon society, and together with MMC, which has been pushing ahead the development and manufacture of electric commercial vehicles, has agreed to work in conducting a program of collection/delivery field tests using a light commercial EV.
For the purpose of the field tests, the two companies will employ a prototype light commercial EV based on the Minicab market model but powered by the same EV powertrain and components as used by the i-MiEV. The gathering and analysis of a wide range of driving data and information through this program will allow the companies to ascertain the feasibility of using light commercial EVs in collection/delivery operations.
Beginning on October 15, the field tests will be conducted from Yamato Transport’s Higashi Kojiya 1-chome Depot in Ota-ku, Tokyo and will cover collection/delivery operations throughout the Ota-ku region.
Yamato Transport views the start of these field tests as a major step in putting more next-generation vehicles on the roads in the transport industry as a whole. The company has already introduced 10 i-MiEV electric cars for the purpose of training drivers in the areas of safety and eco-friendly driving habits. On the basis of the results stemming from the field tests the company will also be looking at the use of light commercial EVs in its collection/delivery operations as part of its drive to make commercial vehicles eco-friendly.
For its part, MMC will feed back the field test results into its product development as it aims to bring a light commercial EV to market as early as possible.
* Modal shift: the shifting of road transport to rail and sea in order to reduce traffic congestion and environmental pollution.
Mitsubishi Motors Corporation (TSE: 7211) was established in 1970 and is one of the few automobile companies in the world that produces a full line of automotive products ranging from 660-cc mini cars and passenger cars to commercial vehicles and heavy-duty trucks and buses. The company also operates consumer financing services and provides this to its customer base.