Daga project is moving forward and we have just announced our biggest product so far. It is more than a twinkle in our eyes, but still needs a lot of sweat and probably tears to turn it into a real product. I am hoping to avoid blood.
Japan is probably moving away from an automobile centered society faster than any other developed country, even while building new roads hell for leather. Public transport is excellent and relatively inexpensive, urban roads are crowded and the idea of a car as a status object is becoming confined to smaller and smaller circles of people. Practicality rules, so that whereas almost everywhere in the developed world has fallen under the spell of SUVs, in Japan the minivan is King, especially in the guise of almost cube shaped kei-cars.
The environment for bicycles is not great but they are faster than anything else in the narrow streets and in towns the whole place swarms with them, especially electrically-assisted ones for getting up the ubiquitous hills.
Another type of vehicle you will find in swarms is courier trucks. Courier delivery has a long history, is highly developed and specialized, and internet shopping has boosted it to new heights. Not to mention the very efficient postal service or hot food delivery, usually swinging around from the back of a Honda Cub or pizzas in the hot box of a covered scooter.
This combination of a practical approach to transport, narrow streets, limited parking and a highly developed delivery environment makes urban Japan ripe for a vehicle that can carry more than a bicycle or scooter, get around narrow streets quicker than a truck or van and cost peanuts to run.
The Daga mobility vehicle is designed to fit into Japan’s bicycle category, so no driving license is necessary. (It would be helpful if the government would tweak the law and take away the ridiculously low speed limit (24km/h) and the requirement that a bicycle cannot run on electric power only, but we are not the only people who think so and we hope that the law will change soon.)
So far we have only made small scale “concept models” and you are probably looking at these photos and thinking, “So, what’s with the dolls with ridiculous proportions and skimpy shorts?” Well, we decided that we would announce the project at the Tokyo Wonder Festival. At the moment the trike is only a proposal, our fantasy of a parallel world in which a new kind of mobility is available, so we thought that some of the people most likely to imagine along with us are the people who spend their days imagining different worlds in the form of manga and anime. We proposed the tricycles in three scenarios, a “work trike” for factory floors, warehouses and construction sites, a “hot food service trike” for delivery tasty bowls of noodles to your door and a “courier bike”, no explanation necessary.
“work trike”工場、倉庫や工事現場で活躍するガテン系作業バイク。 “hot food service trike”は街の中華屋のお気軽出前バイク。 “courier bike”は次世代の最速宅配バイクです。
At Wonder Festival
Wonder Festival is the place to see figurines, of anime and other fantasy characters, made to really wonderful levels of detail and expression. With the help of a figurine designer, Atomic Bom, who specializes in bike girls, we could attract the attention of attendees of the festival and complete the scenarios we want to create with a human presence. Well, sort of human.
We also made a 1/3 scale model, an unpainted 3D print in sintered nylon powder.
And if you are wondering what the STROKE thing is, the cargo trike is just the first of a series of Daga products to be based on pipe construction. The pipes will bend and join to “write” the products, like the strokes of calligraphy.
We can design and give them shape but to take them to the next step we need supporters and partners. Wonder Festival was the first step in building a fan base for our cargo trike – now we are looking for the people and companies who can help us get it onto the street, soon.