Tama electric vehicles

After the war, in a switch from fighter plane manufacture to peacetime industry, Tachikawa Aircraft (later Tama Cars Co.) embarked on the development of electric vehicles. One reason for this was the extreme shortage of gasoline at the time.
In 1947, the company succeeded in creating a prototype 2-seater truck (500kg load capacity) with a 4.5hp motor and a new body design. It was named "Tama" after the area where it was produced. Its top speed was 34km/h. Next, they created their first passenger car: with 2 doors and seating for 4, it boasted a top speed of 35km/h and a cruising range of 65km on a single charge. The former aircraft maker employed many unique ideas in the design and construction of the Tama, such as its battery compartments. In the first performance tests conducted for electric vehicles by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry in March 1948, the Tama easily took top honors.
The Tama came in passenger car and truck models, and both were available in gasoline and electric versions. In June 1948, Tachikawa Aircraft changed its name and commenced operations as Tokyo Electric Cars Co.. Tama Electric Cars Co. became Tama Cars Co., these two companies being responsible for the Tama Junior (1948 compact passenger car) and Tama Senior (1949 medium-size passenger car). In 1952, it became the Prince Motor Co., Ltd..

Here you see a battery compartment within the cabin floor of the Tama electric car. There were two such compartments, one on either side. Each battery case was provided with rollers so that used batteries could be quickly exchanged with freshly charged ones. Thanks to such engineering, the Tama took top honors in the performance tests conducted by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

Pedigree of the Prince Motor Co., Ltd.