Does Australia need a smaller car?

Does Australia need a smaller car?

Guest 04 Jul, 2013

One of our staff members, Andrew, is currently on Vacation in Japan, and has sent this thought provoking blog…

I’m now in Japan, spending time with my family. I’m lucky enough to have the use of a spare car while here – it’s a “kei car” and with 2 adults and 2 kids we thought it may be a bit small.


Today we have just completed a 200km round trip today in cities, country side and expressways and I have to say I’m pretty impressed with it.

We knew what the car was before we left Melbourne and organised a small pram so that it would fit. but that has been the only exception we have had to make and we are finding it is quite suitable – and I think it would perform well in Australia, particularly as a city commuting car.

So what is a “kei car”?

In essence, it is a very small car, built to comply with the following specifications:
max length 3.4m
max width 1.48m
max height 2m
max engine size 660cc
max power 47kw

They come in all shapes and sizes from little utes, vans, people movers, sedans and even sports cars.
They are generally a 5 speed manual or 4 speed auto, with the option of turbo charging, and they are capable of cruising at 100km/h with 4 adults, with a fuel consumption of under 6 L/100 km.

In Japan, the advantages of a kei car are many:

1. size (residential parking space required)

2. fuel consumption (sub 6ltr/100 city driving)

3. parking ( kei cars get priority parking at shopping centres)

4. environmental (less materials used in manufacturing and less pollution)

5. discount registration

6. discount insurance

7. cheaper parking costs in paid parking lots

8. cheaper expressway tolls

How would a “kei car” fare in Australia?

Normally, I commute daily into Collingwood – I already have a fairly small car which has its advantages in traffic and parking. It has allowed me to see the amount of large cars with only one driver and wonder- is this the best use of that car?

The maximum speed limit of my commute is 70km/h and I’m considering a newer car. If kei cars were available in Australia they would be high on my list.

If our government would support this type of car I think it could be a good idea considering the rising fuel costs and increased traffic congestion.

What do you think? Should Australia look to introduce special concessions on small kei cars in order to reduce traffic congestion and make the daily commute more efficient for city workers? Please comment below!

Tags: Fun stuff

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