Working at a digital media agency usually means doing work for the screen, but once in a while, my agency will throw something completely random in the mix – like a project to develop car graphics for the first electric taxi in Japan.
The effort to make electric cars more appealing to the Japanese public is a huge step for BetterPlace, a company that doesn’t actually make electric cars, but instead, partners with other car companies to convert selected models to work with Better Place batteries and charging stations. Any Better Place electric car can make a quick pit stop at a charging station – the idea being that these stations will eventually will circle the globe – and have their battery swapped out for a fully charged one in just a few minutes.
ProcessThe taxi I designed for is a compact SUV called the Nissan Dualis, which serves the Roppongi Hills district in Tokyo. The design is actually a variation of a design that I did for the Renault Laguna in Isreal, where Better Place built its first electric network. They liked it enough to request a variation
Three electric cabs began
a 90-day trial in Tokyo on Monday that officials and the company involved say could eventually lead to the electrification of the city’s entire taxi fleet. Read more about the campaign »
Other decals that are required on the car are standard Japanese taxi decals, a sponsor logo, and a logo for the Roppongi Hills district. Since I had to follow spacing regulations for Japanese taxi decals, I had to make the design to work as best as I could with all these logos! They sent over a bunch of the actual vinyl stickers.
Early sketches for the Tokyo taxi campaign
I went through several iterations of the car design.
Photos From the Launch Day
Tokyo Electric Taxi Project Launch
Footage from the launch day, and a brief overview of the 60-second battery switching process. That’s the car I did decals for! I’m still in awe.
In Tokyo, taxis represent 2% of cars, but they’re responsible 20% of total emissions. By eliminating taxi emissions, we are eliminating a large chunk of tailpipe emissions. - Kiyotaka Fuiji, President, Better Place Japan
I guarantee you [that] they’re going to ask the driver, “does this thing really work?” And when they say, “Not only does it work, it works better, quieter, I actually like it better than my old taxi…then you have the ultimate demonstration.” - Shai Agassi, CEO Better Place
- Better Place launches switchable-battery electric taxi project in Tokyo (Betterplace blog)
- BetterPlace Photos (Flickr)
- Tokyo Electric Taxi Project launch (YouTube)