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Electric Tuk-Tuks Offer Much-Needed Mobility Option to Tourists in Japan

A student-run venture expands its fleet of electric tuk-tuks for rental at tourist sites. But first, a Sankei Shimbun reporter takes one out for a test drive.



eMoBi's electric tuk-tuk in Chuo Ward, Tokyo (photo by Nobuhito Matsumura).

The student start-up company, eMoBi, Co., Ltd., which operates electric tuk-tuk sharing services at tourist attractions nationwide, is set to expand its business.

Based in Chuo Ward of Tokyo, the company will increase its fleet by 3.5 times to 70 vehicles by the end of next year to meet the needs of regional tourists who are struggling to secure means of transportation.

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, along with 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 loud engines and give off strong fumes.

On the other hand, electric tuk-tuks, like other EVs, are quiet and odorless, making them a "safe and comfortable ride for tourists," according to Goto of eMoBi.

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

An Alternative for Areas Without Ready Public Transportation

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

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

In the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, electric tuk-tuks are effective for avoiding the so-called 'Three Cs' (crowded places, close contact settings, and closed spaces) because they do not have doors or windows. Inquiries directed to eMoBi from tourist groups throughout Japan are reportedly increasing.


Read the rest of this article here to learn what it's like to drive a tuk-tuk and plans for expansion of tuk-tuk sharing services in Japan. And find more great articles on the environment and the challenges of achieving the SDGs, on our new website Japan 2 Earth, sparking a transition on the environment and SDGs.


Author: Nobuhito Matsumura

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