Japanese Firm Upgrades Electric One-seater

Jan 29, 2009
Tatsuhiko Hayashi, Nikkei Automotive Technology
The prototype of the "T10" exhibited for reference
The prototype of the "T10" exhibited for reference
[Click to enlarge image]
The space to the left of the driver seat was increased.
The space to the left of the driver seat was increased.
[Click to enlarge image]

Takeoka Jidosha Kogei Ltd, which is based in Toyama City, Japan, exhibited a prototype of an electric minicar at the 1st Int'l Automotive Electronics Technology Expo, which is taking place from Jan 28 to 30, 2009, at Tokyo Big Site.

The minicar, "T10," is based on the "Milieu R," a one-seater electric minicar currently distributed by the company. But the T10 is longer and wider than the Milieu R. Takeoka plans to release the vehicle within 2009. The price has yet to be decided but is expected to be higher than that of the Milieu R, which is priced at ¥856,000 (approx US$9,520).

The dimensions of the T-10 are 2,240 (L) x 1,180 (W) x 1,440mm (H), while those of the Milieu R are 2,150 (L) x 1,140 (W) x 1,350mm (H). Following the expansion of the total width, the luggage space to the left of the driver seat was increased, allowing space for a pet animal, according to the company.

In respect to the design, the front face and side panels of the vehicle became more curvy so as to appeal not only to older generations but also to the young. However, as a result of the more complicated shape, the female molds for forming the body parts by hand lay-up molding also became complicated, contributing to the slightly higher price.

The T-10 is a motorized four-wheeled bicycle that can be driven with a regular driver license in Japan. It is mounted with a DC motor that matches the rated output of the motorized bicycle (600W) and four 12V 60Ah lead secondary batteries.

The maximum speed is 55km/h, while the cruising distance is 50km. The motor is manufactured in Japan, but the control system is supplied by Curtis Instruments Inc of the US.

The body is structured by a ladder frame made of steel pipes, which is covered by the upper body made of FRP (fiber reinforced plastic). The T-10 has only one door on its right side. A strut type suspension is used for the front wheels, while a three-link rigid suspension is used for the rear wheels. It is also equipped with a rear wheel differential gear.

The vehicle weight is 290kg. It can be charged by 100V and 200V power sources.