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Geneva: Toyota reveals i-Road

2013-03-05 09:59

Toyota’s i-ROAD personal mobility vehicle is having its world debut at the 2013 Geneva auto show as a new, flexible form of transport designed for city streets.

Seating two in tandem and under cover, it's a battery tricycle with a range of up to 50km. Using “Active Lean” technology, according to the automaker, it is safe, intuitive and enjoyable to drive, with no need for driver or passenger to wear a helmet.

SCOOTER, BIKE ALTERNATIVE

It’s the latest concept to emerge from Toyota’s 40 years of research and development of vehicles that use less energy, are eco-friendly and are practical in meeting people’s everyday transport needs.

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The automaker has targeted people who want something more comfortable, with better weather protection and safer than a scooter or motorcycle but with similar benefits of low running costs, easy parking and manoeuvrability.

The compact three-wheeler is 2350mm long and 1445mm high and has a 1700mm wheelbase. Its width, at only 850mm, is no wider than a conventional two-wheeler so manoeuvring through congested traffic is easy and four can be parked in a single parking bay.

The zero-emissions trike has a lithium-ion battery to power two 2kW hub motors in the front wheels. Acceleration is said to be "brisk" and silent. The battery can be fully recharged from a conventional domestic power supply in three hours.

The automaker’s new 'active lean' technology is the key to the trike's stability and safety. An ECU calculates the required degree of lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed. The system moves the front wheels up and down in opposite directions, applying lean angle to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering.

It might sound complicated but no special skills are needed to ride the trike.

Because of its more car-like cabin it has the potential for features such as lighting, heating, audio and Bluetooth.

Do you think this concept is viable? And would you consider using one? Email us and we'll publish your thoughts or use the Readers' Comments section below...

Check out the latest models in our Geneva show section.

Comments
  • Perry R. Obray - 2013-03-05 22:55

    They might look at Tesla's range in comparison to the i-Roads 31 mile range.

  • Kwashic - 2013-03-06 11:59

    Just make them already.... and reserve lanes for them in peak traffic situations.

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