Photo/IllutrationRimono Co.’s two-seater microcompact EV concept car on May 20 (Ken Miyazaki)

A venture company has taken the concept of “cushy ride” to new extremes.

Tokyo-based Rimono Co. on May 20 unveiled a microcompact electric vehicle (EV) concept car that features cloth and cushions for its body.

With the appearance of an oversized toy for children, the prototype two-seater vehicle is one-fourth the size of a conventional sedan and consists largely of “soft-touch materials.” It was built to be “slow and human friendly.”

The super-soft EV was jointly developed by Rimono and four companies, including leading material manufacturers Mitsui Chemicals Inc. and Teijin Frontier Co.

Mitsui Chemicals provided urethane fiber cushions for the interior and exterior of the car. Tent material made by Teijin Frontier covers the vehicle’s surface.

“Drivers can dress up the surface of the car body with different designs,” said Shinsuke Ito, president of Rimono. “I would like people, no matter if they are car lovers or not, to want to have this new car.”

Two-seater microcompact cars are not allowed on public roads in Japan unless special permission is granted by the government. But one-seaters face no such restrictions, and the project team plans to put one into commercial use next summer.

Carrying a battery with a capacity of 4 kilowatts per hour, the envisioned one-seater is expected to have a range of 50 kilometers and a top speed of 45 kph.

It is expected to carry a price tag of 1 million yen ($9,100), excluding subsidies from the government for purchases of “green” vehicles.

Only three companies sell one-seater microcompact EVs in Japan.

“We will ask the government to formulate a system that will enable us to sell our microcompact EVs throughout Japan,” said Ito, a former official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.