E-Bikes in Japan - just a little article

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Timpo

Well-Known Member
Mitsubishi Kaiteki Concept
Kaiteki translates to "the sustainable well-being of people, society and our planet Earth.”




 
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Alex M

Well-Known Member
Ebikes in Japan are going out of stock.

Due to Covid 19 pandemic, Panasonic, Yamaha and Bridgestone aren't able to manufacture their ebikes.

Although electronic components were made in Japan, the frames were made in China.

I wonder American ebike companies will lose their stock too. 🤔
There are interruptions, likely temporary. China is not a kind of country that would stop doing anything for long, short of a complete nation-wide disaster like economic blockade with no fuel and raw materials coming from anywhere. But in this day and age such a scenario would be unrealistic. Several US companies have posted a notice "bikes on pre-order, available in 60 days" or similar.
 

Mister B

New Member
I spend a lot of time in Japan and love the bike culture there. Their use of bikes are often necessitated by the lack of parking spaces for cars. Even in suburban areas, most Japanese homes can only accommodate one car (often barely one). Thus the utility bike is like a second car for shopping, taking kids to school, etc. and often just finding a place to park those bikes are just as problematic in the cramped towns of Japan with most being tucked snugly in between houses.
 

byunbee

Well-Known Member
Another thing about Japan is that they often used their machines for decades unlike the U.S. One of the thing that stand out from my visit to Japan was that majority of their Taxis and Buses were from the 70's but were in immaculate condition. I found it odd that a country with automobile industry as one of their bread and butter sectors had such outdated models everywhere.

I'm not sure whether this extends to the ebikes but I wouldn't be surprised.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
Another thing about Japan is that they often used their machines for decades unlike the U.S. One of the thing that stand out from my visit to Japan was that majority of their Taxis and Buses were from the 70's but were in immaculate condition. I found it odd that a country with automobile industry as one of their bread and butter sectors had such outdated models everywhere.

I'm not sure whether this extends to the ebikes but I wouldn't be surprised.
Any cars driven on the road in Japan must be in immaculate condition.
Jay Leno was talking about this on his YouTube channel, Jay Leno's Garage.

Basically, they have this Japanese government inspection called "Shaken" (annual for old cars, every 2 years for cars less than 5 years or something) and cars must obtain certificate of roadworthiness.
Everything must work, cracked windshield, wipers, turn signals, light bulbs are not acceptable. Faded brakes, worn tires, bad suspension are out of question.
The inspection is very thorough and it is very expensive (not uncommon to see in thousands of $)

Jay Leno said people typically do not drive cars that are several years old in Japan because it costs them so much to keep old cars.

A lot of people think Taxis and Buses are old school in Japan, but believe or not, some of them are actually brand new.
They are now replaced by Toyota JPN Taxi https://toyota.jp/jpntaxi/ since 2019

2018 Toyota Crown Comfort
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E-Wheels

Well-Known Member
Another thing about Japan is that they often used their machines for decades unlike the U.S. One of the thing that stand out from my visit to Japan was that majority of their Taxis and Buses were from the 70's but were in immaculate condition. I found it odd that a country with automobile industry as one of their bread and butter sectors had such outdated models everywhere.

I'm not sure whether this extends to the ebikes but I wouldn't be surprised.
I suppose if it’s not broke....
 

Alex M

Well-Known Member
I suppose if it’s not broke....
Folow the money. As Timpo noted, those 1970-looking cars are actually new.
Mr. Toyoda is running the country, he doesn't want people driving old cars, he wants them to buy a new car every 5 years.
 

Timpo

Well-Known Member
I really hope EBR covers ebike culture in Japan
or just bicycle culture in general.

Not only Japan has the longest ebike history in the world, they have their own unique culture too.

 

FlatSix911

Well-Known Member
Japan is an interesting market... with very innovative and cost-effective bikes available only within the country.

EBR members may be interested in the history of Yamaha EBikes... they are credited with inventing the world’s first electric-assist bike in 1993. ;)


Yamaha invented the world’s first electrically power assisted bicycle (PAS) in 1993.
Since then we have been constantly innovating to deliver the most easy-to-use power assist systems. Just one ride and you’ll understand.

  • Over 4 Million Drive Units used worldwide
  • Over 2 Million Yamaha e-bikes sold in Japan
1989 Yamaha created first prototype in 1989.
View attachment 58647
1993 Sales of the world-first PAS bicycle began in 1993 in Japan. The concept of an electrically power assisted bicycle would later spread worldwide.
View attachment 58648
1995 A detachable nickel-cadmium battery was adopted along with a new charger with a refresh-charge function.

View attachment 58649
1999 Intelligent Flexible Energy System (IFES) was developed. This enabled data exchange between the battery, charger and controller.
View attachment 58650
2003 Lightweight, compact center-mounted drive unit with efficient direct-to-chain assist was developed. Non-contact torque sensor was developed to lighten pedaling when the battery is empty.
View attachment 58651
2008 Along with the introduction of our Brace model, we reached our 1 million bicycles sold. Creation of our Brace model was a response to consumers asking for sportier recreation bicycle with Yamaha PAS technology.
View attachment 58652
2013 The Triple Sensor System was introduced to the all-new PWseries, providing a smoother and more enjoyable ride. The increased precision of the assist control results in the most “natural and organic” pedaling feel available in ebike technology today.
View attachment 58653
2015 New Concept YPJ-R light weight road bike was introduced in Japan.
View attachment 58654
2016 Along with the introduction of our YPJ-C model in Japan, we reached our 2 million bicycles sold.
View attachment 58655
 

shiruba

New Member
Any cars driven on the road in Japan must be in immaculate condition.
Jay Leno was talking about this on his YouTube channel, Jay Leno's Garage.

Basically, they have this Japanese government inspection called "Shaken" (annual for old cars, every 2 years for cars less than 5 years or something) and cars must obtain certificate of roadworthiness.
Everything must work, cracked windshield, wipers, turn signals, light bulbs are not acceptable. Faded brakes, worn tires, bad suspension are out of question.
The inspection is very thorough and it is very expensive (not uncommon to see in thousands of $)

Jay Leno said people typically do not drive cars that are several years old in Japan because it costs them so much to keep old cars.

A lot of people think Taxis and Buses are old school in Japan, but believe or not, some of them are actually brand new.
They are now replaced by Toyota JPN Taxi https://toyota.jp/jpntaxi/ since 2019

2018 Toyota Crown Comfort
コンフォート教習車 ガソリン 5速マニュアル車(スーパーホワイトII)<オプション装着車>

コンフォートSG(ブラック)<オプション装着車>タクシー標示灯、表示灯は参考例
This is true, you need inspection, which is very strict, and you need insurance, etc. Also bear in mind, most people in the city do not have cars. Even if you have a car, you are typically not allowed to drive it to work (your health insurance company will not cover any accidents in the way to our from work if you drive when you could have taken the subway or train, give your company will forbid it). For most prior, the grocery door is 5 - 10 mins walk, so driving would be silly, where a bike might make sense.

Just because Japan produces a lot of cars doesn't mean they sell a lot domestically. Also, at least for panasonic, many of their bike frames are made in Taiwan and Japan.

The lowest end motorcycles/scooters and bicycles are exempt from periodic inspection, exempt from proving you have a parking space, etc. so they are of course they are popular.