Business / Tech

Toyota unveils electric vehicle to be used at Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic venues

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

Toyota Motor Corp. on Thursday unveiled an electric vehicle especially designed to transport people within the venues of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games next year.

Japan’s biggest automaker, which is also one of the major sponsors of the 2020 Tokyo Games, said it plans to provide about 200 “Accessible People Mover (APM)” vehicles that will offer short-distance rides not only for visitors but also athletes and Olympic and Paralympic staff.

The APM, which looks like a gigantic golf cart, or a huge, modern looking tuk-tuk, can carry six passengers in total, including the driver, on three rows of seats.

The vehicle is also equipped with a ramp and can accommodate a person in a wheelchair by folding away the second row seat, which is one of the advantages of the vehicle, said Akihiro Yanaka, a Toyota official in charge of the APM project.

It is powered by lithium-ion batteries and runs 100 kilometers on a single charge, with a maximum speed of 19 kilometers per hour. It has no doors to provide a comfortable experience on sunny days, but it is also equipped with rain curtains.

The floor is set low, for wheelchair users to be able to ride smoothly, Yanaka said.

Yanaka said the APM will be primarily used to transport people within Olympic venues. For example, it could be used to transport visitors from one of the entrances to the gate closest to their stadium seats.

The APM can also be used for relief purposes, as it is big enough to accommodate a stretcher and a couple of staffers, Toyota said. The automaker said it plans to carry out test events and will make some further improvements before the Tokyo Games.