Every motor show needs its share of wackier concepts, and this year, Toyota is delivering the goods for the Geneva Motor Show.
Meet the i-Road. Making its world debut at the show from tomorrow, the i-Road is a Twizy-rivalling compact electric quadricycle. Unlike the four-wheel Renault Twizy, Toyota’s model rides on only three wheels and uses something called ‘Active Lean’ technology for a ride closely modelled on a motorbike.
Just 85cm wider than a conventional scooter or bike, the model is designed to be as manoeuvrable in the city as one of its two-wheel rivals and using its Active Lean technology, can balance when cornering or travelling over stepped surfaces. Unlike a bike though, its enclosed body means its passengers will not be required to wear helmets and offers car-like protection from the elements.
With two wheels at the front and one at the back, the Active Lean system allows the two front wheels to move independently of each other . An ECU calculates the required degree of lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information, to automatically moving the wheels up and down in opposite directions, applying lean angle appropriate for the corner.
A ‘personal mobility vehicle’, the i-Road has space just for two, with a passenger seat behind the driver.
Fitted with a lithium ion battery and two 2kW motors fitted to the front wheels, Toyota has given the model exceptionally low range, at just 30 miles per charge, . Recharging from a conventional power supply takes just three hours.
As such, the carmaker is surely imaging that the model will be used by those making mostly short, inner city journeys.
The ultra-compact, three-wheel measures just 2,350mm long and 1,445mm high and has a 1,700mm wheelbase-perfect for parking in tight spaces, with a minimum turning circle of three metres.
Making its world premiere at the 83rd Geneva Motor Show this week, the model will be on display from March 5-17, 2013.
At this time, the model is just a concept, and its Japanese maker has given no indication if it will go into production.
Faye has been writing about cars and environmental issues since 2007. A suspected eco-warrior working on the corporate inside, Faye mainly likes the weird, quirky vehicles that show a distinct environmental advantage. Her ideal car has enough room to fit a bale of hay in the boot. When not working, she likes nothing better than to head out on her bicycle and explore the countryside.
Toyota has a great concept (Narrow, Enclosed, Tilting, Commuter); BUT its limited performance (30 mi. range, 28mph speed) severely limits its practicality and marketability in today's society. While <30mph might be OK for a city center; getting there on 45-55mph roads would be impractical and dangerous. Most city dwellers live in apartments and high rises and would find parking and recharging impractical. Now if Toyota could come up with an i-Road with 100 mile range and a top speed of 65-75mph, then they would have the “Commuter of the Future”, and would sell hundreds of thousands; I know I'd buy one!
March 06, 2013