To many motoring enthusiasts, Japan’s Nobuhiro “Monster” Tajima is to hill climbing what Michael Schumacher is to F1 or Valentino Rossi is MotoGP. It’s no wonder then that when Tajima launches an electric car the motoring world gets a little excited. Released recently at the first EV and HEV Drive System Technology Expo in Tokyo, the Tajima Motor Corporation’s (in conjunction with Natural Energy) EV Mini Sport is an open wheeler, single-seater car that looks very comfortable on the track.
Surprisingly, the EV Mini Sport is categorized as a motorized bicycle because of its 0.59kW motor. Even so, this EV can reach 75kmh (although the legal speed for bicycles in Japan is 60kmh) and achieves 90km between charges, according to Tajima.
Measuring 2,490 (L) x 1,298 (W) x 1,090mm (H), and a wheel base of 1,855mm, the lightweight car (280kg) has two battery options – lead acid and Lithium polymer (40-120Ah). The lead battery outputs 40Ah and costs around ¥230,000 (US$2,560 approx.). It covers around 30km between charges. The 120Ah Lithium polymer battery is beefier but costs more – around ¥470,000 (US$5,230) and achieves around 90km between charges. A mid-range 80Ah Lithium polymer battery gets around 60km. The batteries take between 8-12 hours to fully charge.
Emulating a formula race car, the EV Mini Sport is naturally rear-wheel drive via a drive belt rather than a chain with the motor mounted behind the driver. Being developed by a racing driver and not having amazing speed, one would expect the EV Mini Sport to handle like a dream. Not many stats in that department but suffice to say it has double wishbone front suspension and swing arm rear suspension. The motor is mounted behind the driver's seat, and the single rear axle has a differential function developed by Tajima Motors.
Sans battery, the EV Mini Sport is available directly from Tajima Motors for ¥2,079,000 (US$23,192 approx. at time of publishing).