TOYOTA’S EV TRIKE: Toyota’s i-Road electric vehicle, already in use in France, will be tested in Tokyo, Japan as a potential car-sharing scheme. Image: Toyota
TOKYO, Japan – Toyota’s i-Road, a battery-powered, compact and leanable trike, will enter a new car-sharing programme in central Tokyo, Japan, in April 2015.
The electric vehicle is already is use in a public transport scheme in Grenoble, France, and hasbeen put through its paces in Toyota City.
The new trial will see the i-Road paired with Park24, which operates a network of car parks across Japan, Times Car Plus service, which allows members to make use of a fleet of cars. The scheme will also incorporate elements from Toyota’s “Ha:mo” urban transport template, which has also been adopted by Grenoble.
IMAGE GALLERY: 2015 Toyota i-Road
The Tokyo trial is planned to run until the end of September 2015. Data and user feedback will be gathered to assess, Toyota says, “ease of use, changes in user activity patterns, and public receptiveness to new mobility systems of this type”.
Toyota says its i-Road will mainly be used for one-way trips to businesses, shops and sight-seeing locations. Users will pick up a vehicle from the Times Station at the Yurakucho ITOCiA shopping centre and return it to any of five central locations.
Users will be required to participate in an i-Road training course before driving the vehicle. The service will cost the equivalent of R39 per 15 minutes and maximum usage is two-and-a-half hours.
Park24 created Times Car Plus to make public mobility more convenient. Its service has about 430 000 members and offers a wide range of rental vehicles.
Toyota has been conducting trial operations of Ha:mo in Toyota City since October 2012, a system intended to relieve traffic congestion, reduce air pollution and improve mobility. It links private and public transportation networks and is being tested at railway stations and at public facilities.
The project was created when Toyota City was designated "a next-generation energy and social systems demonstration area” by Japan’s economy, trade and industry ministry.