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Operator Fostering, Research and Trials for Support Measures Towards Establishment of Local Car Sharing Businesses
— Trials to confirm reduction of CO2 emissions from transportation through establishment of car sharing businesses and savings in vehicle management and maintenance costs for local government and local SMEs to be conducted in Saitama City —

December 2, 2010

From December 4, 2010, The Japan Research Institute, Limited (JRI) and Sumitomo Mitsui Auto Service Company, Limited (SMASC) will be conducting research and trials preparatory to a joint public-private car sharing scheme involving electric vehicles (EV) in Saitama City (Mayor: Yuto Shimizu)

Car sharing is an effective means of reducing management and maintenance costs for individuals and small businesses operators who do not use road vehicles on a constant basis. The establishment of car-sharing schemes, which help to reduce the number of private vehicles and encourage the use of public transportation, is typically used by local governments as a means of reducing CO2 emissions from transportation, but the difficulty for car sharing business operators of securing a steady supply of users, particularly in the early stages, is hindering full-scale businesses development.

As a means of reducing CO2 emissions and in view of the demand for car sharing, especially in the Omiya area of Saitama City where a large number of small businesses are based, JRI and SMASC will be conducting research and trials preparatory to the establishment of a joint public-private car-sharing scheme involving EVs. The aim is that having Saitama City Government as a customer will provide a stable business base for local car sharing business operators and help to establish car sharing within the City. Imposing a requirement that the car sharing vehicles to be used by Saitama City must be EVs with zero CO2 emissions should also encourage business operators to introduce EVs.

The plan is to use utilization rate information as a basis for reducing the number of official vehicles maintained by Saitama City on a regular basis and to replace official vehicles with EVs supplied by local car sharing businesses where demand for vehicle use is low. Consideration will also be given to using the budget savings achieved by reducing the overall number of official vehicles and using EV car sharing to replace the City’s remaining vehicles with EVs.

JRI will use SMASC’s vehicle management and analysis system to visualize the pattern of use of Saitama City’s official vehicles. It will then use this information to determine the optimum number of vehicles and calculate everything from the savings in costs (management costs, etc.) to be achieved by reducing the number of vehicles to the conditions under which the City should use EV car sharing and the number of vehicles that can be replaced with EVs.

JRI also plans to conduct simulations of business viability and the reduction in CO2 emissions that could be achieved if the EV car sharing scheme were extended to cover the whole of Saitama City, and develop a low-carbon transportation plan.

The trial of the joint public-private EV car sharing scheme will involve stationing 2 EVs (Subaru Plug-in Stellas) at Omiya Ward Office. The trial will initially run for approximately 2 months, from December 4, 2010 to the end of January 2011, with ward office employees, local residents and local businesses acting as monitors. Thereafter, the scheme will be launched on a full-scale basis, members will be recruited more widely and the trial will continue until the end of March.

For more information on the content of this report, please contact Kazuhiro Muto, the Japan Research Institute, Limited.

E-mail:muto.kazuhiro@jri.co.jp

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