Three-seat, three-wheeled electric vehicle in traditional Japanese style, photo by Kyodo Photo.

Three-seat, three-wheeled electric vehicle in traditional Japanese style, photo by Kyodo Photo.

It must be Friday, when the silly stuff comes up.

According to Japan Times, in the Kansai region of Japan, four companies have got together to produce a new vehicle which they hope will capture the hearts and minds of eco-minded visitors needing a way to get around the ancient cities of Kyoto and Nara.

The vehicle itself has a production cost of ¥2.3 million (about $25,000) and is aimed squarely at the tourist transport market.

Looking a little like an overweight Thai tuk-tuk, it is fitted with what seems to be a plexiglass sunroof, a single front wheel and square headlights. The three-wheeled vehicle aims to evoke feelings of traditional Japanese culture whilst producing zero tailpipe emissions.

Mixing old and new technology, the tourist tricycle features washi doors (a traditional form of Japanese paper) and lithium-ion batteries. The latter enables the ‘car’ to travel at up to a heady 25 mph. The former adds to the quirky appearance.

So, if Japan can do it, how about the rest of the world?

Some ideas for other traditional vehicles that could receive the electric treatment for the tourist trade worldwide:

  • Electric Powered Conestoga Wagon: Perfect for running around those Wild West theme parks.  Horses optional.     
  • Electric Powered Canoe: Complete with mechanical articulated oars, for that self-paddling feature.
  • Fully electric Penny-Farthing bicycle: Handlebar moustache a prerequisite.
  • Electric Viking Longship: Perfect for those tourists looking for the way to Valhalla without getting sweaty on the way.
  • Stephenson’s Rocket, electrified: Certainly quieter than the original, which was one of the very first coal-burning steam locomotives. Perfect for appreciating the English countryside.
  • Electric Amish Cart: The New Order Amish allow the use of electricity, even car ownership. Why not combine Old Amish transport with the convenience of electricity?
  • Roman Chariot: Complete with robotic humanoid pulling it. No. Wait. That’s already been done...

[Japan Times]