Commuting around Yokohama Station in Japan just got a little easier, thanks to an inexpensive new car-sharing scheme.
Nissan introduced the Choimobi Yokohama round-trip service, which adds 25 vehicles around Yokohama Station in the Kanagawa prefecture. All a person needs to get started is a Japanese driver's license, a phone and a Japanese credit card. Sorry, gaijin -- this one's not for you.
The car in question is more of a "car" than a car. It's the Nissan New Mobility Concept, which is basically a Renault Twizy EV with a few Nissan badges. Technically considered a quadricycle (or microcar) in Europe, this little guy packs a 17-horsepower electric motor and a 6.1-kWh battery, which should be good for about 40 miles of range. A 25-mph top speed will keep the leaden of foot out of trouble.
Choimobi Yokohama isn't just renting out cars for folks who want to check out the neighborhood around the train station. It will also offer guided tours of the area, as well as longer-term rentals for local businesses.
Since you don't get a whole lot of capability from these cars, you won't have to shell out a lot of cash, either. It costs just 250 yen ($2.22) for 15 minutes of driving, on top of a 200 yen ($1.77) flat fee. The maximum daily charge is 3,000 yen ($26.61), which would be an impressive figure to hit, given the Nissan's short range and limited output.
This is far from Nissan's first rodeo with the city of Yokohama. The two previously partnered up in 2013 for a two-year trial of a one-way car-sharing service, also using small electric vehicles. After those two years, the pair started offering its vehicles to local businesses and tour operators. This program will run for two years, as well.
Nissan's been quick to tout its Renault Twizy -- er, New Mobility Concept -- as a good car for sharing. Along with Choimobi Yokohama, Nissan has a fleet of these EVs in San Francisco as part of the Scoot Networks car-sharing scheme.