Using 10 ultra-compact electric cars, Toyota Thailand launches a two-year, TB50 million ($1.5 million) car-sharing project to study motorist behavior in Bangkok.
Toyota is working with Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University as the Thai capital becomes the second foreign city after Grenoble, France, for Toyota's harmonious mobility network (Ha:mo). It is also using Ha:mo in Japan in Toyota City, Tokyo, Okayama and Okinawa.
Toyota Thailand says the 10 Toyota Coms EVs now in use will be followed by another 20 to be imported from Japan by second-quarter 2018. The EVs have a top speed of 37.5 mph (60 km/h), a range of 31.3 miles (50 km) and take six hours to charge.
Toyota Thailand Chairman Ninnart Chaithirapinyo says the service areas cover the campus and commercial area at Chulalongkorn University with 12 Ha:mo stations in strategic areas to connect to public transportation, as well as 10 charging stations and 33 parking lots.
Another 15 charging stations will be added next year to connect Ha:mo to more mass-transit points.
“Toyota has joined hands with Chulalongkorn as this area sees 100,000 people a day and there are plenty of opportunities for car-sharing demand because of insufficient parking lots and expensive parking fees,” Ninnart says in a statement.
The research phase of the project will look at user behavior until November 2019 before going fully commercial with outside investment and expanded operations.
Users register on a mobile application for a TB100 ($3.05) fee. The trip charge is TB30 ($0.92) for 20 minutes and then TB2 ($0.06) a minute. Payment is by debit or credit card and the service operates between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday to Friday.
Since the project began Dec. 1, the average usage rate is about 45 times a day and peak customer usage is from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 3 p.m.-5 p.m.
“Based on this information, we are analyzing and planning for vehicle relocation to match the customers’ demand with vehicle supply,” Ninnart says.
Toyota Thailand Managing Officer Michinobu Sugata says as the region’s largest automobile producer, seller and exporter, Toyota knows the increase in the number of vehicles has caused social problems.
“We think that we should be responsible for that,” he says. “So, we provide EV Ha:mo as a shared service for people to move freely, conveniently and comfortably with a combination of the public transportation and with zero CO2 emissions.”