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Toyota makes inroads with i-ROAD

Two-seat EV at heart of evaluation into viability of urban mobility

Published: November 22, 2015, 1:00 PM
Updated: November 25, 2015, 1:46 AM

Canadian International AutoShow, concepts and exotics - Toyota iRoad Concept - Toyota i-Road Concept (Canadian debut) – One of Toyota’s latest what-if exercises in personal transportation, the electric  i-Road is designed with enough room for two people. It offers some neat touches such as exterior screens that can display the vehicle’s mood. And it has three wheels to maximize maneuverability and stability.

In its continued quest to change the face of intra-urban environmentally-friendly mobility, Toyota is speeding into the Open Road Project under full throttle with the introduction of the 3-wheeled, 2-seat i-ROAD electric vehicle into the Japanese market.

The ultra compact i-ROAD has actually been converted into a 2-seater to make it more appealing to users, who might otherwise limit their driving due to the personal nature of the single-seat original. Already in testing in the French Alps, the car has now been licensed to operate in Japan.

The i-ROAD features two electric motors and a range of about 50 km, but perhaps its most innovative feature is the way it leans into a corner for stability and comfort (as a motorcyclist will lean a motorcycle), thanks to automatically controlled independent front suspension that adjusts the angle of lean according to speed.

Four vehicles will be made available for 12 months as part of the Open Road Project (which was officially launched in July 2015), with each car loaned out for one-month trials to applicants who will use it for their 2-passenger needs for daily driving routines, such as shopping and/or commuting. Toyota will evaluate the vehicle’s effectiveness to meet a variety of mobility needs.

With partners from different levels of government, the Project also commits to infrastructure improvements in terms of parking spot and charging station availability.