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Friday, 18th March 2016
In Japan Travel News,

Electric cars must overcome Hokkaido?s cold conditions

Electric cars that are driven on the roads of Hokkaido have a tougher challenge than other parts of Japan, due to frequent cold weather conditions.

As a result, eight companies based on this most northerly of Japan’s main islands, are working specifically on counteracting issues associated with ice and snow.

Hideki Nemoto, president of Will-E Co, one such firm, told the Japan Times: “Our company may be small, but we want to produce things that suit the demand of the locals.”

Will-E Co has partnered up with seven other small or medium-sized companies in the vicinity, as well as the state-sponsored Organization for Small and Medium Enterprises and Regional Innovation to develop the project.

In January, representatives from the group attended the Sapporo Motor Show with an exciting new prototype.

The vehicle has been created with additional resistance to snow and ice built in, making driving in winter conditions much easier and safer.

Right at the heart of the car is a control system that detects if the car is starting to spin out and automatically puts it into four-wheel drive.

Once the conditions are manageable again for rear-wheel drive, the system changes it back, as this mode requires less energy than the alternative.

Mr Nemoto said: “As there was no sensor available to detect spinning tyres, we have worked to develop technology which can judge the situation by the tyres’ rotation frequency and the vehicle’s speed.”

The next phase of the process is to continue improving the design of the vehicle so it can eventually be rolled out for use in Hokkaido.

Will-E was founded in 2002 when Mr Nemoto left his job at Isuzu Motors Ltd and founded his own business for developing vehicles.

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