Retired engineer keen to advise e-cycle venture

by Takuro Iwahashi

Kyodo

Yasunori Yoshida, a former auto engineer, joined an electric motorcycle venture in Tokyo in October at the age of 70.

“I believe if retirees work for some more years and pass on their knowledge and experience to future generations, Japan can revitalize itself,” Yoshida said.

Yoshida, a Tokyo native, studied machine engineering while in high school in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, before joining Nissan Diesel Motor Co., a truck maker now called UD Trucks Corp.

Yoshida worked mainly as an engineer at Nissan Diesel but also engaged in the building of production facilities in Southeast Asia and served as vice president at its Thai unit from 2003 to 2007.

“After leaving the company, I was wondering if I would have to take the know-how I had acquired to my grave,” he said.

But in early 2013, he heard about Terra Motors Corp., a small four-year-old venture with a workforce of just 16 that had nonetheless gained the largest share of the domestic electric motorcycle market.

“I thought I should hand down my experience to this young company, which has remarkable ideas,” he said.

Yoshida has spent time in the Mideast, where the mercury can hit 45 degrees, and in Siberia, where it can fall to minus 45, examining vehicle durability. He said he hopes his experience will help Terra Motors develop products that meet a wide range of requirements abroad.