Takara's Modern Times

Official Website: http://www.takaratoys.co.jp/q-car 

TAKARA Co., Ltd.
Established September 17, 1955 
4-19-16 Aoto, Katsushika-ku, Tokyo, Japan 125-8503
Telephone: 03-3603-2131 

Japanese toymaker Takara Co Ltd President Keita Sato drives onto stage in a battery-powered vintage-style electric car called "Modern Times" at an unveiling in Tokyo January 22, 2002. Takara hopes to drive into a new niche with the single-seat electric cars due to hit the market around September this year, which can be driven on the road, with an eight-hour battery charge giving the car an 80 kilometer range. The vintage-style model electric car will likely be priced at just over one million yen ($7490), he said. REUTERS/Eriko Sugita

(From: http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/p/nm/20020122/wl/imdf22012002063302a.html)


Takara unveils electric vehicles

Jan 24, 2002                                          

Japan's toymaker giant Takara unveiled single-seat electric vehicles, dubbed "Q-Car," at a press conference held on January 22, 2002. After considering the production of electric cars for a long time, the company announced Tuesday to release two types of electric cars in fall this year. Annual sales of 1,000 units are being targeted.

To be incorporated in February 2002 is "Choro Q Motors," a company to handle manufacturing and sales of Q-Cars. Takara has embarked on a joint development of electric cars with Kanagawa-based Cox, which is responsible for tuning up German cars. Although prices are yet to be finalized, a sports car-type vehicle tentatively called "2010" will be priced at around one million yen and another type that comes with a roof tentatively called "Modern Times" will be within the range of 1 to 1.5 million yen.

Takara used a parking space located at the hotel where the press conference was held to demonstrate the actual movement of the electric car. The compact body of the car seemed to help its driving speed look fast in appearance. The vehicle performed cornering with quick and responsive handling.

Classified as auto-cycle under Traffic Law

The newly unveiled electric car runs at a maximum 50km/hour and is classified as motorized two-wheeled vehicle under the Japanese Traffic Law. Although a user would need to obtain a standard driver's license to drive the electric vehicle, automobile inspection and Motor Vehicle Tonnage Tax are not required. The battery can be charged from an ordinary 100V electric socket at households. The vehicle purportedly is capable of driving an 80-km range after being charged for eight hours. In addition to individual users, Takara intends to attract users for use at tourist sites, companies and events held by local governments.

Of the two types of electric cars, 2010-type measures 1930 mm by 1020 mm by 1560 mm and Modern Times 2040 mm by 1046 mm by 1154 mm. Q-car will mount as their primary power supply six lead storage batteries with an output voltage of 12V and current capacity 42Ah. One additional lead storage battery with 12V output voltage and 28Ah current capacity is incorporated as a redundant primary power supply. The vehicle has a direct drive rear wheel driven by wheel-in motor method. Q-car is equipped with regenerative braking system, which is capable of recharging electricity to the primary power source whenever the car throttles down. By employing four-wheel double-wishbone suspension, Takara aimed to boost the comfortableness and stability. Its minimum turning-radius is 2.6m.

To hit the market via multi-channels

Under the slogan of "Extending the definition of toys," Takara is setting its focus on developing toys that bring enjoyment to adults. The launch of
electric vehicle is one of such examples. Says Takara President Keita Sato,
"A great deal of tastes go into automobiles. Some users even spend all they
earn on cars. Although automakers are currently making extremely attractive proposals in the field of gasoline engine cars and hybrid cars, they are yet to offer ample suggestions for electric cars. The idea was that we could contribute to this field by adding a spice of fun to electric cars through our position as a toymaker." In terms of safety, Sato continued, "Makers who actually manufacture bodies for automobiles are going to supply bodies to us and our products will be registered to Land, Infrastructure and Transportation Ministry. By all means drivers of electric vehicles are required to pay attention to avoid accidents just as they would when driving cars and auto-cycles."

In addition to the two models unveiled this time round, Takara is slated to
market new models in the future. In addition to the company's already forte
toy-store channels, Takara will explore such new channels as auto dealers,
motorcycle shops and bicycle shops. On its agenda are: (1) Launching a
directly owned shop named "Q-Square;" (2) Promoting the development of recharging stations in a form of vending machines; and (3) Exploring a
broader base of electric car fans.

(By Fumitada Takahashi)


Toymaker Takara to market real cars 
The Asahi Shimbun 

Not every Japanese company is caught up in the race to miniaturize its products. 

In fact, Takara Co. has followed a different route altogether. 

The major toy manufacturer is gearing up to roll out two single-seater electric cars based on its popular Choro-Q series of miniature automobiles in the autumn. 

The new Q-Cars are big and powerful enough to carry an adult at speeds of up to 60 kph. With an eight-hour charge, which can be accomplished using an ordinary household electrical outlet, the battery-powered car has a range of about 80 kilometers. 

The first two Q-Car models, a sports car dubbed 2010 and a classic car called Modern Times, will retail in the neighborhood of 1 million yen. Takara hopes to sell 1,000 of the cars in the first year. 

Takara is setting up a joint venture, Choro-Q Motors Co., with the Kanagawa-based racing car developer Cox Inc. in late February. The new firm will assemble the cars with parts supplied by an affiliate of Toyota Motor Corp. and other companies. 

Takara will mainly be involved in designing the bodies of the Q-Cars. 

The cars will be exempt from routine shaken inspections and certain taxes imposed on motor vehicles. Nor will they require parking permits. 

What will be required, however, is that Q-Car drivers have an ordinary driver's license.