Photo/IllutrationAn ultra-compact electric vehicle that is used in the car-sharing service operated jointly by Nissan Motor Co. and the Yokohama city government (Provided by Nissan Motor Co.)

YOKOHAMA--Nissan Motor Co., in tandem with the city government here, has started a joint car-sharing enterprise using two-seat, ultra-compact electric vehicles.

The program that kicked off March 17 allows users to rent electric vehicles at 14 locations in central Yokohama for sightseeing, shopping, short hops or whatever.

Users must first register on a website dedicated to the service (

Vehicles can be reserved at least 30 minutes in advance, and used only within Yokohama city limits. Driving them on expressways or designated highways is prohibited. The service costs 250 yen for each 15 minutes, plus a basic charge of 200 yen.

In autumn 2013, Nissan began a two-year car-sharing trial using ultra-compact electric vehicles that allowed the user to collect a car at one operation base and drop it off at another.

Under the new program, the user is obligated to return the vehicle to its place of origin. The program is scheduled to run for two years to allow the automaker to explore the potential for a further expansion of the service.

Rival Toyota Motor Corp. is teaming up with Park24 Co., which operates coin-operated parking lots, for a car-sharing service that uses its super-compact “i-Road” electric vehicles.