Panasonic's Evolta: Unstoppable Bar Rain, Stairs and Eneloop?

Published on November 16, 2010
by Daisuke Wakabayashi

Step aside Energizer Bunny, make-way for Evolta-kun. The miniature green robot, standing a full 17 centimeters (6.7-inch) tall, is pulling his cart along a 500-kilometer (300-mile) route connecting Tokyo to Kyoto.

Evolta-kun’s epic journey on the Tokaido, one of Japan’s ancient thoroughfares, is part of a marketing campaign by Panasonic Corp. to promote its Evolta rechargeable batteries. At each of the route’s 53 stages where a weary traveler would once stop for food and lodging, Evolta-kun recharges its batteries (literally).

Even the robot mascot has his own crew of costume-wearing female models (the Evolta Sisters), an exclusive theme song (We, Challengers) and, of course, a daily comic strip. The robot travels with an entourage of five staff. One ‘Evolta Sister’ pushes a cart that emits an infra-red signal to control the robot’s direction; two members are in charge of checking for safety and two cameramen chronicle every robotic step of his journey.

There are rules: Evolta-kun stops at red lights. It doesn’t walk at night or in the rain. The robot can’t climb stairs. (With regards to stairs, a staff member will carry it by hand,” according to the rules.)

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