Electric Cars

2018 Nissan Leaf is the star of new Japanese car-sharing service

It will eventually expand to dozens of regions in the country, but there's no word about international efforts.

Nissan

Car sharing, where multiple people have access to a car owned by a separate party, is taking off in many corners of the world. And now, Nissan has a service of its own to add to that pile of existing schemes.

Nissan announced this week that it will introduce the Nissan e-Share Mobi car-sharing service in Japan starting early next year. The program has no membership fee, nor is there a fee related to the distance driven. Heck, there aren't even membership cards -- a driver's license acts in lieu of an official membership card.

Want to test out ProPilot without spending tens of thousands of dollars? If you're in Japan, here's your ticket.

Nissan

One thing drivers will have to pay for, though, is tolls. Each car in Nissan e-Share Mobi comes with a card that will cover toll costs during the trip, but those toll costs will then be passed on to the driver. The cars will be cleaned daily when not in use, so you won't have to contend with someone else's used tissues and drink cups.

The first vehicle in the program is, unsurprisingly, Nissan's brand new 2018 Leaf EV. The Leaf comes equipped with ProPilot, Nissan's semi-autonomous lane-holding highway system. So, not only is it a good program for urbanites without cars, it's a great way to experience new in-car technology without paying a bunch of money for the whole car.

The program will start at 30 different sharing stations in a variety of Japanese prefectures, including Tokyo, Kanagawa, Kyoto and Osaka. Nissan hopes to expand it to other areas across the country after that, but there is no word yet on whether Nissan plans to offer similar services in different countries, including the US.

Now in production in the US, the 2018 Nissan Leaf offers way more than the first generation did. Range is up to about 150 miles, with a bigger battery on the way that'll push the range north of 225 miles. Its 147-horsepower electric motor is nearly 50 percent more powerful than the outgoing model's, too.