AZAPA aims to mass-produce electric-powered micro compact cars

AZAPA aims to mass-produce electric-powered micro compact cars

The micro compact car that AZAPA plans to produce, as seen on August 8 at the research station of its Okinawa branch in Yonabaru.

August 9, 2012 Fumiaki Jahana of Ryukyu Shimpo

The Nagoya based company AZAPA Co. Ltd, which researches and develops electronic control units in Okinawa, will commence production of an electric vehicle equipped with an electronic control unit developed within the prefecture. AZAPA plans to produce a one or two-seater electric micro compact car, which will sell for around one million yen. Enlisting the cooperation of local companies specializing in metal processing, AZAPA will commence mass-production of the vehicle in Okinawa from fiscal 2013, aiming to promote sales to resort hotels and golf courses.

The electronic control unit for an electric vehicle.

A micro compact car is a new type of vehicle that is smaller than a standard light automobile. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism plans to relax standards for such vehicles within the Road Trucking Vehicle Act, and in future will allow micro compact cars to become road-taxed vehicles. Expecting the market to expand, AZAPA hopes to swiftly build a production system.

AZAPA is preparing to develop electronic control units for electric vehicles that utilize information technology. The company has commenced production of the vehicle as part of this development project and has almost finishing putting production facilities in place. At its research station in Yonabaru AZAPA is trying to develop software that can check the running of the vehicle, its battery performance and driving information such as speed and distance, as well as maintenance-related information from an iPad.

AZAPA established the research station in its Okinawa branch in November 2011, and sees Okinawa as a location suitable for developing electric vehicles and electronic control units, and promoting its projects. The reason for this is that the prefecture is working on the electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid vehicle “Town Project” that aims to develop fuel-economy cars such as electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid vehicles utilizing rechargeable batteries in people’s homes.

Saoto Tsuchiya, manager of the Research and Development Division of the research station in the Okinawa branch, said, “We plan to market these vehicles to resort hotels that may want to utilize them within their grounds. At the same time, we will continue to run tests on these vehicles, hoping to promote road-taxed micro compact cars in Okinawa.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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