Formula Car-like EV Showcased at Expo

Jan 22, 2010
Tatsuhiko Hayashi, Nikkei Automotive Technology
A front view
A front view
[Click to enlarge image]
The driving force of the motor is transmitted by a belt.
The driving force of the motor is transmitted by a belt.
[Click to enlarge image]
The driver's seat
The driver's seat
[Click to enlarge image]
Tajima Motor sells wind generator systems, aiming to charge the EV with renewable energy.
Tajima Motor sells wind generator systems, aiming to charge the EV with renewable energy.
[Click to enlarge image]

Tajima Motor Corp exhibited the "EV Mini Sport" single-seater electric vehicle (EV) at the 1st EV & HEV Drive System Technology Expo, which takes place from Jan 20 to 22, 2010, in Tokyo.

The EV was released Jan 15, 2010, at a price of ¥2,079,000 (approx US$23,018, without a battery).

Tajima Motor, which is run by Japanese racing driver Nobuhiro Tajima, manages auto shops and motor sports businesses. Based on the experience in motor sports, the company designed the EV that looks like a formula car and has a light weight and low air resistance.

It is categorized as a motorized bicycle in Japan and has a motor output of 0.59kW. The weight of the EV was reduced to about 300kg by combining a steel tube space frame and a resin bathtub-like body.

Customers can choose a battery and a chassis for the vehicle. Lead batteries and lithium polymer batteries are available. And their current capacities are from 40 to 120Ah.

The most inexpensive battery is a lead battery with a current capacity of 40Ah and costs ¥228,480. On the other hand, when a 120Ah lithium polymer battery is selected, the EV costs ¥2,468,580.

The distance capable of being traveled varies depending on battery capacity. And it is about 25km with a 40Ah lead battery (at a speed of 40km/h) and about 90km with a 120Ah lithium polymer battery. The maximum speed of the vehicle is more than 70km/h even though the legal maximum speed for motorized bicycles is 60km/h in Japan.

The EV Mini Sport is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle with a double wishbone type front suspension and a swing arm type rear suspension. Its motor is mounted behind the driver's seat, and driving force is transmitted to the rear axle via a belt. There seems to be only one axle, but it has a differential function developed by Tajima Motor.

The motor is a series-wound direct-current type manufactured by Meidensha Corp. And the controller was developed by Tajima Motor. The reduction gear ratio is 4.6. The dimensions of the vehicle are 2,490 (L) x 1,298 (W) x 1,090mm (H), and the wheel base is 1,855mm

The EV is currently sold at the stores directly managed by Tajima Motor but will be available to dealers in the future.

"We are planning to release a version with a longer width and a two-seater version with an increased length for overseas markets," Tajima said.