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Toyota’s i-Road car-share scheme

2014-07-01 08:52

A TOYOTA, BUT NOT AS YOU KNOW IT: Toyota’s i-Road will take to the streets of France later in 2014 as part of a car-sharing scheme in the city of Grenoble. Image: Toyota

GRENOBLE, France - In March 2013, Wheels24 reported Toyota’s i-Road, an electric three-wheel concept, was set to be launched in Europe later in 2014.

Toyota said its i-Road is based on the concept shown at the 2013 Tokyo auto show but with adjustments to improve visibility, ease of use and manoeuvrability.

GALLERY: 2014 Toyota i-Road
VIDEO: 2014 Toyota i-Road in testing

In June 2014, Toyota confirmed its i-Road two-seat models will take part in a vehicle-sharing programme that will operate in the French city of Grenoble over the next three years.

TOYOTA’S I-ROAD EV

The i-Road measures 2.3m long, 0.8m wide and 1.4m tall with a wheelbase of 1.6m. It is built around an aluminium space frame with a plastic body and weighs just 300kg. At the front it uses 80/90R16 tyres and 120/90R10 at the rear.

The i-Road, equipped with active lean technology has a turning radius of 3m. It’s powered by two electric motors enabling it to reach a maximum speed of 56km/h. It’s lithium-ion battery has a range of 50km at 30km/h.

CAR-SHARE SCHEME

Grenoble already has a vehicle car-sharing scheme called Citelib which will enable Toyota’s EV to be available for pre-registration by Grenoble commuters ahead of the launch in October 2014.

It’s envisioned that drivers will be able to book and reserve i-Roads during a tram ride and use the vehicles to and from stations. Toyota confirms 70 i-Road vehicles will be available.

Vehicles can be charged at 30 charging stations located close to public transport stops and allow users to pick up one of the small EVs at one location and drop it off at another.

Toyota said: “The project also aims to promote inter-connectivity of public transport methods (trams, buses, trains) and a new type of personal mobility using small vehicles that don’t take up as much space as a normal car.”

HOW IT WILL WORK

Using a smartphone app, drivers reserve and pay for the use of i-Road at specific stations. According to Toyota, "once you get off the tram, all you have to do is flash your phone onto the charging station to release your i-Road".

Another app can also allow you to see the status of traffic and public transport before you leave, so you can plan the best route that day.



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