President of Tokyo R&D and PUES Corporation
Born in 1947 in Hyogo, Japan.
Staff Editor: Please tell us something about your career and profession.
Masao Ono: I started designing racing cars when I was a student at the Tokyo Institute of Technology in 1969, and I have designed more than 20 racing cars including cars for Le Mans 24 hours and Formula One, before establishing Tokyo R&D in 1981 with several of my friends. Tokyo R&D is an independent engineering company specializing in the research and development of automobiles. Tokyo R&D has founded PUES Corporation in 1999, and the purpose of PUES is to develop and to manufacture electric motor, inverter, controller, and battery management system for hybrid and electric vehicles. I currently serve as the president and CEO of both companies.
SE: When and how did you get involved in LEVs?
MO: In 1984, I met Dr. Shimizu, who now is the professor at the Keio University; and is well known for the development of high performance electric vehicle Eliica. Dr. Shimizu and I discussed about electric vehicles and racing cars, and I have found that the same technology as racing cars are useful for improving the performance of electric vehicles. I soon decided to develop an electric trial bike with direct drive in-wheel motors. Since then development of electric vehicles has become one of the major activities of Tokyo R&D, and many electric vehicles were developed including electric scooters, electric passenger cars and electric buses.
SE: What is your personal motivation to work in LEVs?
MO: I believe that light electric vehicles have better chance of commercialization than bigger ones, and this is why Tokyo R&D has been developing many light electric vehicles, mainly electric scooters. I believe that the current progress in the development of lithium-ion batteries will lead to the commercialization of light electric vehicles soon.
Tokyo R&D Co., Ltd.
1516 Aiko, Atsugi-shi, Kanagawa, 243-0035,
Languages: Japanese and English
January 14, 2006