Automotive

Toyota i-Road electric three-wheeler gets green light for early production

Toyota's i-Road is on the road to production
Toyota's i-Road is on the road to production
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The Toyota i-Road is a tandem two-seater
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The Toyota i-Road is a tandem two-seater
Toyota's i-Road is on the road to production
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Toyota's i-Road is on the road to production
Entry into the i-Road's front seat is unobstructed
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Entry into the i-Road's front seat is unobstructed
The very simple control console of the Toyota i-Road
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The very simple control console of the Toyota i-Road
Diagram of Toyota's Ha:mo RIDE system, providing flexible personal transport within city centers on a rental basis (Image: Toyota)
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Diagram of Toyota's Ha:mo RIDE system, providing flexible personal transport within city centers on a rental basis (Image: Toyota)

Toyota's i-Road three-wheeler concept is set to make it off the drawing board and onto the road. Toyota has announced that a limited production run of the fully enclosed, tilting EV will begin shortly, with initial units being transferred to Toyota's Ha:mo urban transport system trials in Toyota City.

When the i-Road burst onto the scene at this year's Geneva Motor Show, it felt like one of those design concepts that, although innovative and exciting, would probably disappear as do most of that ilk. But now Toyota has put its money where its mouth is, and is producing a short production run, probably numbering in the hundreds, to add to it's prototype Ha:mo urban transport system.

The i-Road is an electric personal mobility vehicle with two in-line seats, that leans into the corners like a motorcycle. With only five horsepower, a top speed of 45 km/h (30 mph), and a range of 50 km (30 mi), the i-Road is aimed squarely at an urban transport market.

Toyota is running its Harmonious Mobility Network (Ha:mo for short) in Toyota City, located in Aichi, Japan. Designed as a system to improve urban transportation by combining private car and public transportation, Ha:mo is aimed at making both urban transportation and the urban culture more people- and community friendly.

Diagram of Toyota's Ha:mo RIDE system, providing flexible personal transport within city centers on a rental basis (Image: Toyota)
Diagram of Toyota's Ha:mo RIDE system, providing flexible personal transport within city centers on a rental basis (Image: Toyota)

The Ha:mo RIDE project is a car sharing system using ultracompact electric vehicles that provides transportation to and within the city center; for example, between a train station and a passenger's workplace. At present the system has ten Toyota COMS personal mobility vehicles and ten Toyota PAS power assisted bicycles. These are available at four stations where they can be rented and returned after use.

In the planned expansion, these numbers will be increased to 100 of each, with 100 i-Roads being added in early 2014. The number of rental stations will be increased to seventeen, providing service at train stations and major public buildings to facilitate quick turnover of the rentals. A rental fee of 20 yen (about 20 US cents) per minute will also be instituted.

Source: Toyota

17 comments
BigGoofyGuy
I think it is really cool. It seems rather slow for such a vehicle. I think it could go faster, perhaps use a fuel cell for added range and added speed.
TogetherinParis
Wow, we could ride this thing legally without a tag or insurance here in Florida where 5 hp motors on trikes are not against the law! I want one!
EddieG
American laws will declare this to be a motorcycle because it has less than four wheels. Special licenses will be needed, and the driver will be required to wear a helmet. Few drivers will accept this.
Ian Mitko
@Eddie. Do you need a helmet to ride a motorcycle in Kansas? Have all three wheeled cars been classified as motorcycles? Do you think a 5hp motor will require a motorcycle license?
Rehab
Someone has to develope a temperature control suit so people can ride their electric bike in all weather conditions. Besides, you can park a bike anywhere not like all these mini ev's that don't fit in with our driving and parking style in North America. Even the smart car is a bust here. Cars and electric bikes work, just keep them away from each other.
Leonard Foster Jr
if priced over 8k it will fail in the states
Womp
I have seen a lot of these lease/share/rent experimental vehicles being tested, but I have never heard a user claiming that is the solution they want, and I have yet to see any sort of satisfaction survey from people who have used such a system. Also, the test is in Japan which has different cultural norms for the treatment of public property, I think conditions would be different here in Australia. The condition of the interior of those vehicles on the morning after Grand Final Night would be a real test of the lease/share/rent system.
Brendan Dunphy
Very cool and would work well in civilised countries with cities not originally designed for cars such as those found in Europe!
duh3000
@Brendan I'm not sure if you're talking about the "cities" or the "cars" "found in Europe" ? One way or the other, sitting in seats, which do not allow standing on the pegs like motorbikes, in a small-wheeled, relatively short-wheelbased vehicle you'll need a decent road surface to drive this on. Perhaps like the roads found in parts of Europe ?
EddieG
@Mitko, Each state has different laws. In Connecticut, you do not need a helmet now, but you might need to carry one with you to ride to another state. An engine with a displacement greater than 50cc requires a license. And yes, a car must have four wheels.
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