If you live or plan to take a trip to Japan, you may see one of Toyota’s most radical prospects for what the global future of personal transportation may look like. Premiering as a Toyota concept car a year ago at the Geneva Motor Show, the i-ROAD is an all-electric vehicle based in the confides of 92.52 inches in length and under 33.5 inches in width. A three-wheeled vehicle with two-passenger enclosed cabin, the Toyota i-ROAD is an outrageous concept that has been adapted for the road in an on-road trial.
Introduced for public road use at a March 2nd test drive event held at Ecoful Town in Toyota City, Japan, the i-ROAD officially transitions from wild show car to an even more stunning street legal vehicle. The Toyota i-ROAD is becoming part of the company’s Ha:mo vehicle network project operating as a study to efficiently utilize private and public transportation. Ha:mo aims to find solutions making travel more energy efficient as well as quicker for users. The Toyota i-ROAD’s addition is marking the most visible ingredient to the Ha:mo experiment.
Driving the ultra-compact all-electric vehicle for the first time provided drivers with a chance to experience some of the far-out nuances of the Toyota i-ROAD. Little if any details of the i-ROAD concept car have been altered by Toyota. Operating on a pair of two-kilowatt motors mounted inside the front wheels, the three-wheeled i-ROAD is driven off energy of a lithium-ion battery pack. Allowing the mobile vehicle to travel up to 30 miles, the Toyota i-ROAD can be fully recharged in three hours. Certainly not practical for long distances, the use of this zero-emissions vehicle in Toyota’s Ha:mo project is groomed as a short-range daily conveyance.
Hard to confidently describe the Toyota i-ROAD as a car, the compact mobility product draws a great amount of inspiration from two-wheeled vehicles. The most striking characteristic of the i-ROAD is its ability to lean while cornering in a manner exactly like a motorcycle. Described as Toyota’s Active Lean technology, an electronic control unit measures steering, vehicle speed and input from a gyro-sensor to counteract the vehicle’s cornering force.
When needed, the Active Lean system’s physical movement is initiated through gearing on the front suspension. Active Lean is said to furnish stability, safety as well as sense fun to the Toyota i-ROAD. Its super slim shape allows up to four Toyota i-ROADs to fit in a parking space required for a single conventional-sized vehicle. A two-passenger transportation product, the driver and passenger sit in tandem (similar to the layout on a motorcycle). Unlike a typical motorcycle, the i-ROAD is shielded from the exterior elements providing an extra measure of comfort and safety for the users.
Through Ha:mo, the Toyota i-ROAD can be operated from a smartphone. Smartphone technology will also allow users of the Ha:mo system to receive the most efficient route of travel within the transportation network. The Toyota I-ROAD is one of the many vehicles created by the auto company in order to be a companion with modern technology. More dramatic concept cars exhibiting how future vehicles could interact with drivers as well as their devices includes the Toyota Fun-VII and the FV2.
For the time being, Toyota is testing the Ha:mo program in Toyota City, Japan. However, at the end of this year, the Toyota i-Road will sway into Grenoble, France as a car-sharing project will have the automaker working with the local government as well as other partners. Toyota has also not disclosed how many i-ROADs will ultimately for developed for these transportation studies only to say that the vehicle is part of 70 ultra-compact cars being evaluated in France.
To see the i-ROAD in action, take some time to watch the following video compiled by Toyota:
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Toyota. The opinions and text are all mine.