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Shared-use Electro-hybrid bicycle system starts in Shimonoseki City Energy self-sufficient electro-hybrid bicycle parking facility

April 16, 2001

Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. (YMC) announces the completion and presentation of the new energy self-sufficient electro-hybrid bicycle parking facility using solar cell-generated electricity that it has been constructing on the grounds of the Shimonoseki City Office. There in Shimonoseki, an opening ceremony attended by the city's Mayor Kiyoshi Ejima and other officials was held for the new facility, which was given the name "e-Station." This ceremony also marked the beginning of operation for the facility.

This project was undertaken by Shimonoseki City as a subsidized public venture receiving "Model Project" status from Japan's former Environmental Agency as a activity aimed at prevention of global warming. The new facility was designed and built by Yamaha Motor after being chosen Last October among a number of plans for projects submitted to the City by different corporations.
YMC believes that this is the first time in the world that such an energy self-sufficient parking and charging facility for electro-hybrid bicycles has been build and put into operation using clean solar energy that emits no CO2 whatsoever.

In conjunction with the completion of this delivery was made on an order of 30 Yamaha PAS electro-hybrid bicycles that will be used by the citizens and public employees of the city as a shared means of transportation in the vicinity that will hopefully help promote the use of vehicles with low environmental impact and increase awareness among the citizen in general about the environment.

YMC has long been involved in research and development of systems for shared use of electro-hybrid bicycles and the necessary parking and management structure and I.F.E.S. battery management system for common-use charging standard. It is these systems that have been used in the new facility in Shimonoseki.

The energy self-sufficient electro-hybrid bicycle parking facility, "e-Station"

The energy self-sufficient electro-hybrid bicycle
parking facility, "e-Station"

Summary of the self-sufficient electro-hybrid bicycle parking facility

The primary concern in initiating a system for shared use of electro-hybrid bicycles in not only providing the parking and management structure but also the source of electricity to be used in the charging of the bicycles batteries and running the facility.
To solve this problem, the new facility built on the grounds of the Shimonoseki City Office adopted for the first time a system employing 22 solar energy cell panels for generating electricity. In addition to making it possible to charge all 30 of the Yamaha PAS bicycles to be used at this facility from this clean energy source, it also supplies all the energy necessary to run the other equipment necessary for the running of the facility and its automatic nighttime lighting system.

The PAS bicycles supplied to Shimonoseki City for this new facility include 20 units of the Yamaha PAS Royal first marketed in 2000 and 10 units of the PAS SuperLight just marketed in 2001. To ensure user ease, the charging system used is the Yamaha-original I.F.E.S. battery management system. This system employs a CPU mounted in the battery to provide optimized battery charging and discharging control and perform automatically all the bothersome aspects of battery charging management and the refresh operation that becomes necessary memory effect in the battery prevents full charging/discharging. What's more, as long as it complies with the I.F.E.S. (Intelligent and Flexible Energy System) any battery, regardless of the make of electro-hybrid bicycle it is mounted on, can be charged at this facility.

In order to ensure that the facility can be operated without an attendant, a non-contact smart card key system is adopted for the rental/return operation. The system is also set up so that the vital operational information such as the distance run and time involved in each rental is computer monitored. In this way, the computer system is also programmed to put out information about how much the system is contributing to the prevention of global warming. For further convenience, bicycle rack also features individual locks that work automatically off the card key and the charging function is very easy to operate.

YMC's research and development efforts in this field have been furthered by the successes of a rental PAS Station in the resort area of Karuizawa in Nagano prefecture and a charging station set up in a supermarket in Yamaha Motor's home town of Iwata in Shizuoka Prefecture. And, as part of our efforts to promote urban transportation systems that are based on a concern for the environment, YMC will continue to actively pursue the proposal and construction of this type of next-generation transportation system involving electro-hybrid bicycle parking/charging stations.

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Detail of the Parking facility system

1: Solar-cell electricity generation system

On the roof of the parking facility are place 22 sections of multi-crystal silicon solar cell modules that have a combined generating capacity of 3.19 kw. These solar panels have an annual output of 3,000 kw, which is more than sufficient to meet the annual electricity needs of the facility, including the charging of the Yamaha PAS batteries, running the facility management systems and its lighting, which together are estimated at about 2,800 kw annually. Because the facility's electrical system is connected to that of the City Office, it also serves an energy conservation role by making its surplus electricity output available for use in the City Office.

2: Unmanned operation system utilizing IC cards

The operation of the Yamaha PAS bicycles is by means of a "Cycle Manager" product of Human Industrial Design Co., Ltd. The Cycle Manager reads information on a special IC card to enable automated control of the key rentals and returns.
Built into the system is a special function which detects when a cycle is on the automatic refresh charging mode and temporarily excludes that cycle from the rental pool until the refresh charging process is completed.
When a user returns the key of a cycle used, the Cycle Manager system's@numeric keypad automatically records the distance run by the cycle (which is fitted with an odometer). In this way it is possible for the system to keep track not only of the frequency of use by cycle and user but also the total distance run. This enables the data to be converted in reference data concerning things like how much reduction of CO2 emissions is being achieved by having the users ride a PAS instead of using a car.
Also, the data recorded by the Cycle Manager is input into the system's specially programmed management computer to provide real-time information about the state of use and compilation of records about overall system use on a long-term basis.

3: Parking racks with built-in battery charger

The parking racks are constructed in a way that simply pushing the front wheel of the cycle into place in the rack automatically locks it, thus eliminating the danger of users forgetting to lock returned cycles. The racks are also fitted with a charger plug that makes it possible to recharge the PAS batteries simply by inserting the plug in the battery. The chargers used are the special Yamaha rapid-charging charger (sold separately as an option), which can full charge a PAS battery within 0.6 to 1.3 hours (charging time varies with battery capacity on different models).

4: Environment-friendly features included in this parking facility

This parking facility for 30 Yamaha PAS cycles adopts a strong steel frame construction that ensures excellent fire-resistance and fire-prevention qualities and high durability. At the same time, the exterior siding panels are coated with an "titanium oxide finish" that enables sunlight to break down pollutants like nitrogen oxides coming from car exhaust or other organic dirt that may become attached to the surface. This makes it a surface that not only contributes to cleaning the air of pollutants but also retains a clean exterior appearance through breakdown of dirt particles.
The lighting system is also designed as an energy conserving system that utilizes a combination of light sensors, timers and human-presence sensors to automatically turn on lights only when necessary.

5: About the electro-hybrid bicycles used

This facility makes use of a total of 30 units of the Yamaha "PAS Royal" and "PAS SuperLight" models. Of these, 26-inch and 24-inch models are provided to enable three choices for users; a long running distance type, a lightweight, easy to handle type and a smaller type for people with smaller builds.
Also, each cycle has a bicycle type odometer for keeping track of cycle use in terms of distance run.

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