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. Eclectic Koizumi Tries Electric Sedan

Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi (C) walks in front of the eight-wheeled electric car 'Eliica', after listening to explanation by professors at Keio University, Hiroichi Yoshida (L) and Hiroshi Shimizu (not shown), at the premier's official residence in Tokyo, 19 December 2005. Koizumi took a ride on the vehicle which uses lithium-ion battery as a power source with a top speed of 370 kilometres (230 miles) per hour. AFP photo by Yuriko Nakao/Pool.
Tokyo (AFP) Dec 19, 2005
Never tired of sampling new ways to travel, Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi whizzed around the grounds of parliament Monday in an eight-wheeled car billed as the world's fastest electric sedan.

"It is comfortable to ride in," Koizumi said after being taken for a 10-minute spin in the vehicle, dubbed the Eliica.

"It is stable and its speed is fascinating," he said.

Unveiled in October but not set to hit the road for several years, the Eliica runs on lithium-ion batteries and can reach a speed of 370 kilometers (230 miles) an hour.

It was developed by researchers at Tokyo's Keio University in cooperation with a government science-promotion body and private-sector companies such as Japan's top tiremaker Bridgestone.

On Friday, the media-savvy premier commuted to his office by riding the next-generation scooter Segway, a gift from his close friend US President George W. Bush.

In previous photo-ops, Koizumi has done laps on a bicycle and endured the impact of a crash-simulator car in front of a crowd of children to promote traffic safety.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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