‘Made-in-Kyoto’ electric car proudly hails local suppliers
June 6, 2018 Hiroki Ito, Hikaru Nakamura
[images / Hikaru Nakamura
The Tommykaira ZZ concept electric car is on display at the Automotive
Engineering Exposition held in Yokohama in May
The Tommykaira ZZ’s dashboard features Kyocera Corp.’s technologies
The Tommykaira ZZ is equipped with a side-view camera instead of a
conventional side mirror
Images captured by a side-view camera can be seen on a dashboard screen
Images captured by a camera on the back of the Tommykaira ZZ are displayed
on a monitor above the windshield
KYOTO--Japan’s ancient capital could be on the road to becoming the future
capital of the electric vehicles world.
Kyocera Corp. has teamed with a local start-up to produce an electric car
that could be called almost entirely a product of Kyoto.
A white Tommykaira ZZ sports car was displayed in the booth set up by
Kyocera, an electronic parts maker based in Kyoto, during the Automotive
Engineering Exposition held in Yokohama in May.
With a maximum speed of 180 kph, the concept electric car built with GLM
Co., which has its roots in Kyoto University, can accelerate from 0 to 100
kph in only 3.9 seconds.
Kyocera provided its technologies in 12 categories, including in electronic
rear-view mirrors and liquid crystal display meters.
Kyocera has been manufacturing auto components, such as heaters and sensors,
by drawing on its expertise in ceramics processing, its “founding core”
technology. This time around, the company was involved from the very process
of car design instead of simply receiving orders from an automaker.
“Our experience in creating the car from scratch has allowed our developers
on the front lines to build up their capacity,” said Masahiro Inagaki,
general manager of Kyocera’s Corporate R&D Group.
The company has plans for pitching its electronic parts to major automakers.
“(The electric vehicles market) would allow us to count on stable earnings,
although there are high barriers to entry,” a Kyocera representative said.
The concept car is also decked out all over with products of other
Kyoto-based manufacturers, such as GS Yuasa Corp.’s lithium-ion battery,
Omron Corp.’s power relay that functions as a power switch for the battery,
and Nichicon Corp.’s voltage converter.
GLM put its Tommykaira ZZ on sale in 2014 in a limited quantity of only 99
units. It provided a unit of that model for the joint project with Kyocera.
Apart from GLM’s partners, a number of other Kyoto-based electronic parts
makers are also eager to cash in on the growing market of electric vehicles.
Murata Manufacturing Co. plans to invest a maximum of 100 billion yen ($916
million) in setting up a system for increasing the output of components
being used extensively in cars.
Rohm Co. is pitching the sale of energy-efficient semiconductors for use in
Nidec Corp. has plans for investing 200 billion yen during the next three
years to build, among other things, a plant for electric vehicle motors. It
expects to earn up to 1 trillion yen in the auto sector alone in fiscal
“The opportunity (being presented by the electric vehicles market) is the
biggest we have seen since the time of our foundation,” said Shigenobu
Nagamori, Nidec president and CEO.
[© Asahi Shimbun]
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