1. Home
  2. >
  3. Car Story
  4. >
  5. Auto Life
  6. >
  7. A brief analysis of...

[YesAuto 车坛孟料] Friends who have been to Japan must be impressed by the perfect barrier-free environment here, but when it comes to barrier-free facilities, people first think of barrier-free passages, barrier-free toilets, barrier-free buses and other public facilities . In fact, people with physical disabilities also need to be taken care of when riding or driving in a private car. Today we will talk about a wide range of Japanese welfare vehicles (accessible cars).

In fact, the so-called welfare car (accessible car) is not a Japanese patent. The developed countries in Europe and the United States paid attention to the barrier-free environment earlier than Japan. As early as the 1950s just after World War II, Europe and the United States have begun to develop convenient devices for disabled people to ride in cars.

As the economy took off, Japan also began to pay attention to the development of barrier-free environments. According to reports, Japan’s first barrier-free car appeared in Tokyo’s Machida City: In 1972, the barrier-free bus “やまゆり (Lily)” jointly developed by Machida City and Isuzu was officially put into operation. This type of car came with a wheelchair. The lifting platform was developed to make it easier for people in wheelchairs to go to the hospital.

After the 1980s, Japan’s barrier-free environment has been greatly developed. In fact, this is not entirely for the disabled. Another important reason is that the aging population continues to increase. At this time, it is not only the few that need to be taken care of. Disabled, more and more elderly people with limited mobility also need a convenient barrier-free environment.

On the one hand, for the disabled to participate in social life and employment, on the other hand for the convenience of the elderly, the design and manufacture of welfare vehicles have been continuously developed along with the improvement of the entire barrier-free environment.

In English, the barrier-free car is called “Adapted automobile”, and it also has a more popular name-Entervan, from which it is not difficult to see that in European and American countries, the barrier-free car is mainly Van (van, MPV).

Van or MPV is very suitable for use as a barrier-free vehicle due to its high space convenience. There are also many MPV welfare vehicles in Japan, such as Toyota Elfa, Honda Odyssey, Nissan Elgrand, etc.

However, compared with European and American countries, the “diversity” of Japanese welfare vehicles is much richer. In addition to MPVs, Japanese cars, SUVs and even small K-Cars will be transformed into welfare vehicles, such as Toyota Prius, Nissan X-Trail, Honda N-box, etc…. The models you can see on the streets of Japan have their own welfare. Car version (even some sports cars).

Generally speaking, Japanese welfare vehicles can be divided into two types: “care-care vehicles” and “self-operating vehicles”. As the name suggests, the former is used to take care of people with mobility impairments, while the latter is used by people with physical disabilities to drive by themselves. Let’s start with the “Nursing Care” welfare vehicle:

For people with physical disabilities, the most difficult part of the ride is getting on and off the car. The facilities of the nursing-care welfare car are basically for this process. The easiest way is to install a rotating seat for the co-pilot.

The co-pilot swivel seat is used in the morning to unlock the seat with the wrench under the seat, then rotate the seat toward the door, and then rotate the seat back to the original position after the person in need sits on the seat . The seat only rotates horizontally, so this mechanism is mostly manual, simple and economical, and can be applied to many models, so it is the most common form of welfare car in the early days.

Although the rotating passenger seat can bring some convenience, the seat is always inside the cabin, and for models with higher chassis such as MPV, the passenger seat is too high to be able to sit on it at once. Therefore, in recent years, swivel seats with lifting functions have been developed.

This kind of swivel seat is electrically controlled, and the seat can be extended out of the car and lowered in height through the remote control, so that people with physical disabilities can sit on the seat more conveniently.

Rotating seats with lifting function are generally placed in the co-pilot or the rear row, especially the rear row is the most convenient, but it needs to be MPV models with sliding doors, which is difficult to achieve in the rear row of general cars. In addition, it should be noted that when helping others get on and off the car, the operator should always keep an eye on it to prevent the person in the seat from touching the door frame.

It is worth mentioning that there is still an asymmetrical model in Japan today. Its left side (passenger side) door is either a split form without a B-pillar, or a large side sliding door, so when the door is opened, it will A huge opening is formed, which is more convenient for the retracting and unfolding of the rotating seat.

In addition, some Japanese car companies have also developed a rotating seat with wheels, which can be separated from the body after being rotated out of the car. At this time, the seat will be transformed into an electric wheelchair (there is also a non-powered version) , It is more convenient for people with disabilities to travel.

The rotating seat facilitates getting on and off the car for the disabled and the elderly, but there is always a wheelchair-to-seat and seat-to-wheelchair “transfer” process in the process, which is not enough for those with serious physical disabilities Friendly, so there is a wheelchair direct transport car.

In this kind of welfare car, you don't need to get off the wheelchair and get on the seat, but let the wheelchair directly get on the car and become a part of the car seat. Most of the barrier-free Vans in European and American countries have a slope in the sliding surface, but the slope of the Japanese welfare vehicle is more at the tailgate. In order to accommodate wheelchair access, the rear suspension of some welfare vehicles can also be raised and lowered.

Pull open the tailgate, and then unfold the folding board inside the door to form a slope for wheelchairs to enter the car. You can push the wheelchair into the car manually, and the welfare car of this kind in Japan is basically equipped with an electric pull rope, which is connected to the wheelchair, and the wheelchair can be pulled into the car by remote control. This saves effort and avoids the danger caused by the lack of strength of the stroller.

After the wheelchair enters the car, the wheelchair needs to be secured with a strap, and at the same time, a special seat belt must be fastened to the passengers in the wheelchair. This step is also essential.

From the above description, it is not difficult to find that although the slope-type wheelchair direct transportation welfare vehicle does not need to get off the wheelchair and also has electric assistance when getting on the bus, the process is still very cumbersome. So if conditions permit, you can choose a model with a tailgate lifting platform. The tailgate lifting platform of the welfare vehicle is very similar to the lifting tailgate panel of a truck, except that it is only responsible for loading and unloading wheelchairs and can also be stored in the vehicle.

In this way, people only need to push the wheelchair onto the platform, and then let it automatically retract into the car. This kind of platform is firstly more expensive than slopes, and has greater requirements for vehicle space. The slope type can be modified as long as there is enough head space in the car. Ordinary MPVs and even micro-faces can be modified, but the lifting platform type can only be modified with large vehicles such as Toyota Hiace (high-top version). However, it is precisely because of the large space that two wheelchairs can be placed inside, so they are generally used by groups and institutions.

Driver-assisted welfare vehicles are designed to help people with disabilities get the convenience of driving, which is what we usually call disabled vehicles. According to the different physical conditions of the disabled, there are many different types of disabled cars, such as lower limb disability and upper limb disability.

Common disabled cars are assisted driving with lower limb disabilities, which are divided into single lower limb disabilities and double lower limb disabilities. Single lower limb disability mainly refers to the disability of the right lower limb. At this time, only an auxiliary pedal can be installed to allow the left foot to step on the accelerator; for double lower limb disability, an auxiliary joystick needs to be installed, and the joystick is used to control the accelerator and brake, because the right hand cannot leave the steering wheel. The left hand cannot leave the joystick on the auxiliary wheel, so commonly used switches such as headlights and turn signals are generally integrated on the joystick.

Drivers with upper limb disabilities mostly have one-handed disabilities. At this time, the situation is relatively simple. You only need to install an auxiliary ball on the steering wheel, and then add an auxiliary link to the lever far away from the main hand. Of course, there will be some other situations in reality. The above just lists the more common ways of assisted driving for disabled cars.

In addition to the wheelchair direct transport type, other types of welfare vehicles need to consider how to store the wheelchair in the vehicle, whether it is a seat rotation or an assisted driving vehicle. Of course, the easiest way is to fold it directly into the trunk, but if the strength is relatively small or older, it will be more difficult to pack the wheelchair into the trunk. For this reason, some people attentively developed a kind of “crane” in the trunk, using it to hoist the wheelchair into the car, it is very labor-saving.

Although the “wheelchair crane” in the trunk is labor-saving, it still needs someone to help. If the disabled travel by car, this kind of equipment will be useless. At present, the disabled people in self-driving cars have to fold and drag the wheelchair into the car after getting in the car, and then put it in the passenger seat or back row, which is very laborious.

To solve this problem, someone invented an automatic wheelchair storage top box, which looks no different from a normal car top box. The usage is like this: the disabled person moves from the wheelchair to the driver’s seat, and then opens the top box through remote control. A sling is extended from the top box, and the wheelchair is folded and hoisted with the sling, and then stored in the top box, which is very convenient.

As mentioned earlier, there is a large demand for welfare vehicles in Japanese society, but we must admit that compared with ordinary cars, the sales of welfare vehicles are only a small part, and the addition of convenience equipment also pushes up the cost of welfare vehicles. , Then what makes Japanese car companies willing to develop and consumers are willing to buy welfare cars? This has to talk about policy encouragement.

First of all, the government will reduce taxes and fees for companies that produce and sell welfare vehicles, giving car companies the incentive to invest in R&D and sales. Secondly, for consumers, there are various subsidies and preferential treatments. Compared with developed countries in Europe and the United States, the tax burden of Japanese car owners is still very heavy (except for K-Car), and tax reductions can save car owners a lot of money. Below we speak from the two aspects of acquisition and holding:

At the acquisition stage, that is, when you buy a car, first you don’t have to pay the consumption tax that belongs to the national tax; then there is the purchase tax and automobile tax to the local government. This part will be given different reductions and exemptions according to local policies; if your welfare car If it’s not the original factory, there will be subsidies for the renovation costs; in addition, there will be a certain subsidy for the loan for buying a car; and finally, there is a subsidy for employers who hire disabled employees to buy welfare cars or rent parking for disabled employees. Bit.

The cost of the holding phase is the bulk of the car expenses. The first is the car tax. It is a land tax that is paid every year. The tax rate is not low. Just like when buying a car, the car tax at the holding stage of a welfare car will also be based on local policies. Exemptions; in addition to taxes, local governments will also subsidize the fuel cost of welfare vehicles; in addition, welfare vehicle users can also enjoy a variety of discounts when using the car, including tolls, parking fees, ferry fees, and insurance Wait, and these costs are very high in Japan.

This is not over yet. People with disabilities can still get government subsidies when they go to school to learn to drive a car. The admission fee for joining JAF (Japan Automobile Federation, Roadside Assistance Organization, similar to the German ADAC) will also be waived; in addition, they can also apply to the local public security committee for Cars are prohibited except designated cars” sign, that is to say, parking on some prohibited road sections will not be ticketed.

It should be noted that the above-mentioned preferential policies have strict restrictions on the vehicle, the owner and the purpose of use, and not everyone who buys any welfare vehicle can enjoy all the benefits. Having said that, it is not difficult for us to see that the Japanese government and society take care of welfare vehicles and their users in every possible way. I think this is the basis for welfare vehicles to become popular in Japan.

to sum up:

Since the 1970s, Japan has been striving to build a barrier-free environment, and now it has achieved world-renowned achievements. The “Law for the Promotion of Barrier-Free Access for the Elderly and the Disabled (New Barrier-free Law)” implemented in recent years not only focuses on hardware construction, but also focuses on understanding, care and assistance for the disabled and the elderly, and advocates “the mindlessness Obstacles”.

According to statistics, there are more than 80 million disabled people in our country, and the elderly population has exceeded 150 million. Even after the weight removal, the two combined have far exceeded the population of Japan. From this, it seems that China’s demand for welfare vehicles The volume should be much larger than in Japan, but the sales volume of welfare vehicles is negligibly small. How to take care of people with physical disabilities and make their lives more convenient and more dignified is the Japanese experience that we can learn from. (Wang Meng, home of the car/part of the pictures from the Internet/video from the official websites of Toyota and Honda Japan)