Picture of a Yamaha Divide via Treehugger.com
Being hyped as both an Object d’ Art for your home (it folds in half at the press of a button) and zippy commuter (uses an electric smart power motor, based on something called the Passol motor unit). Free of petrol and oil apparently. Die-cast aluminum provides the curves and a Lithium-ion battery feeds the permanent magnet synchronous motor. “Yamaha Divide — An Electric Scooter”
While we are a far cry from any car-free city in the United States, I nevertheless hold out hope that American consumers might consider a trend in Japan and Europe: eco-commuting.
The Japan for Sustainability Digest for 31 May – 6 Jun 2005 informed me that Yamaha Motor Co., the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer, introduced an ‘Eco-Commuting’ system for its employees on December 1, 2004.
Yamaha has been actively involved in the ecological account bookkeeping movement for many years. It noticed that huge fuel costs for commuting were being shouldered by its employees and initiated a study of how to reduce these costs.
From the JFS information site:
In January 2005, Yamaha Motor began issuing a monthly allowance of 1,000 yen ?ˆabout U.S. $9.71) to employees who walk and/or ride a bicycle more than 2 km [a day] in the course of their commute to work. An allowance was also instituted for employees who use public transport Park & Ride services. The frequency of company commuter bus services was also increased.
Introduction of the new system has encouraged 60 more commuters to walk part of the way to work. The new allowances apparently led to this favorable reception, and employees who have started commuting either on foot or by bicycle have reported that they also enjoy various benefits from the switch, such as the fresh air and freedom from stressful traffic congestion.
In December 2004, Yamaha Motor started giving financial assistance to its commuting employees who purchased Yamaha motorcycles or rented electric-powered ‘Passol’ scooters for the purpose of eco-commuting, and offered free lessons for obtaining motorcycle licenses. In February this year it opened a “Return Riders School” for beginners as well as drivers who have not ridden a motorcycle for a long time. An additional lesson series is planned in April as a way of further promoting eco-friendly commutation.
I imagine that such conveyance could become popular on college campuses, particularly if environmentally conscious schools, which have a significant portion of enrollment that commute, offered a tuition discount for such eco-friendly commutation. And, such education or other environmentally minded organizations would be more likely to offer such incentives if economically encouraged to do so as part of a more-informed, free-of-big-oil-influenced, national energy policy.
For more information on electric vehicle commuting, see Electric, Alternative-Fuel and Hybrid Electric Vehicle Links and Resources or Treehugger.com.