Electric tuk-tuks offer a must-have mobility option for tourists in Japan

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Student start-up eMoBi, Co., Ltd., which operates electric tuk-tuk sharing services at tourist attractions across the country, is set to expand its operations.

Based in the Chuo district of Tokyo, the company will multiply its fleet by 3.5 to reach 70 vehicles by the end of next year to meet the needs of regional tourists who are struggling to secure their means of transport.

Launched in December 2020, eMoBi was founded by three students – its current CEO, Tatsuki Ishikawa, and one of its current directors, Masakage Hidaka, both students at the University of Tokyo’s Faculty of Agriculture, as well as another of its current directors, Shimon Goto, a student at Keio University’s Faculty of Business and Commerce.

Tuk-tuks are three-wheeled vehicles used as taxis that are popular mainly in Southeast and South Asia. Fueled by gasoline, conventional tuk-tuks have noisy engines and emit heavy smoke.

On the other hand, electric tuk-tuks, like other electric vehicles, are quiet and odorless, making them a “safe and comfortable ride for tourists,” according to eMoBi’s Goto.

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View from the driver’s seat of eMoBi’s electric tuk-tuk. (© Sankei by Nobuhito Matsumura)

An alternative for areas without ready public transport

In rural areas of Japan, “secondary transportation” from airports, train stations, and bus stations to tourist destinations is often a challenge. Compared to urban areas, transport options to tourist destinations are slim.

Electric tuk-tuk services, if developed, could become a valuable tool for mobility.

In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, electric tuk-tuks are effective in avoiding the so-called “three Cs” (crowded places, close contacts and closed spaces) as they have no doors or windows. Requests for eMoBi from tour groups across Japan are said to be on the rise.

Read the rest of this article here to find out what it’s like to drive a tuk-tuk and plans to expand tuk-tuk sharing services in Japan. And find other interesting articles on the environment and the challenges of achieving the SDGs, on our new website Japan 2 Earthtriggering a transition on the environment and the SDGs.

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Author: Nobuhito Matsumura

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