Yamaha Motor Co Ltd exhibited a three-wheeled "EV commuter" at Super Welfare Expo, which took place from Nov 7 to 13, 2017, at Shibuya Hikarie, in Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.
The EV, "07GEN," is expected to be used as a handle-equipped electric wheelchair (so-called senior car) and can be driven on a sidewalk. It does not require a driver's license. Its maximum speed is 6km/h (approx 3.7mph). Yamaha Motor expects that the EV can travel 30km (approx 18.6 miles) per charge.
The 07GEN uses the same parts for driving as the "JW" electric wheelchair developed by Yamaha Motor. An in-wheel motor (IWM) is embedded in each of the right and left rear wheels. The EV is a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. As in the case of motorbikes, the right hand side of the handle functions as an accelerator. When a button in the same part is pressed, the EV can move backward.
The output of each motor is 100-120W. Gears embedded in the motor are used for deceleration, making it possible to stably output a torque even at a speed as low as 6km/h. The output of the EV is equivalent to that of the electric wheelchair, but Yamaha Motor made original improvements to the control method of the EV.
The EV comes with either a nickel-metal-hydride (NiMH) battery or a lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery. The drive range of the EV is about 15km with the NiMH battery and about 30km with the Li-ion battery. The battery can be changed in accordance with user demands such as travel distance per day.
In addition to the IWMs attached to the rear wheels, the 07GEN is equipped with a motor that moves the seat up and down. The motor rotates to move a ball screw to move the seat.
"We made it convenient for every scene in daily life," Yamaha Motor said. "For example, when the seat is moved up, it becomes easier to pick up an object that is located higher than the eyes. It is an electric vehicle, and the load on the user is low."
For volume production, the company will conduct a verification test to examine the convenience of the EV.