Automotive

Test pilots to explore potential of Toyota's i-Road EV concept

A fleet of i-Roads on the move in Japan 
A fleet of i-Roads on the move in Japan 
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A fleet of i-Roads on the move in Japan 
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A fleet of i-Roads on the move in Japan 
Part of the Toyota test will involve households with children 
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Part of the Toyota test will involve households with children 
Parking is less of an issue when you've got an i-Road 
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Parking is less of an issue when you've got an i-Road 
There's an app with a map of narrow special parking spots also being trialed
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There's an app with a map of narrow special parking spots also being trialed

As city traffic and congestion continues to worsen, auto manufacturers are pushing to mix the maneuverability and efficiency of a motorcycle with the comfort and stability of a car. So far, the Toyota i-Road appears to be on the right track, with a tiny on-road footprint and decent electric range. To make sure the tilting three-wheeler works in the real world, Toyota is handing a fleet of i-Roads over to consumers and businesses as round two of its Open Road Project.

The initial stages of this phase of testing will focus on a small number of test pilots, most of whom are households with young children, in the Shibuya and Setagaya Wards of Tokyo. They'll spend between two weeks and one month behind the wheel of a two-seat i-Road, giving Toyota information about how the vehicle meets their "mobility needs."

Having handed two-seat i-Roads to a set of consumers, Toyota will also be testing if one-seat variants are useful to businesses in central Tokyo. The study will focus on companies without any cars, or companies looking to add variety to their fleets, and aims to give Toyota a better understanding of how compact electric vehicles are used in a shared environment.

Parking is less of an issue when you've got an i-Road 
Parking is less of an issue when you've got an i-Road 

Both groups will have access to a trial service that gives users more information about charging, helping convert charge time into electricity usage figures, and a network of around 200 exclusive narrow parking spots scattered around Tokyo. The parks can be tracked and reserved through a smartphone app, and some of them include charge points.

The i-Road was first shown back in 2013, complete with an electric range of 30 mi (50 km). Although its yet to reach series production, the i-Road is being used by the French city of Grenoble as a part of a wider car-sharing program, and the car is also being trialed in a last-mile car-sharing program in Japan.

Part one of the Open Road Project saw hand-picked Tokyo locals get behind the wheel of an i-Road for short periods of time, giving them a taste of what it would be like to live with the 2-kW (2.7-hp) tilting three-wheeler. Round two will run between September 17 and March 31 in 2017.

Source: Toyota

9 comments
Grunchy
Reminds me of the difference between my friend's FJ1100 and my 750 Nighthawk, if they got tipped over. If my friend's FJ got tipped over, it scratched up the bodywork & would cost a lot to replace, or else just look like hell. My bike had crash pegs & protuberances & never got damaged. He even said "you could drag that behind a truck and nothing would get scratched!" was almost true. Anyway I could tip one of these I-Road cars over in seconds & bet it would be practically wrecked.
Dan Parker
I think this is a great idea and I wish them success.
Paul Anthony
I want one! I want one! Did you hear me? I wonder what the cost will be to consumers.
Jeff Goldstein
Seems like a great idea. It makes a lot more sense as a second or third family car for around town trips to the supermarket or train station. It makes a lot more sense than the Tesla. Toyota needs to increase the power but sell these for well under $10,000.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
Can slide out on ice without falling down. A 4-wheeler with a much wider footprint can also do this.
icykel
Wonderful ! I will be first in line if Toyota wants to trial their iRoad in 'would like to be clean green' New Zealand. I have already put together an electric recumbent trike which is not too different which is pretty good.
YuraG
@ Grunchy – my tadpole velomobile/trike experience tells me this thing will be a fun to ride especially in bad weather. Any scooter rider, I bet, would happily switch to iRoad, if the price is right.
S Michael
Ugly and I'm not buying it.
unklmurray
The uninformed idiot wants a four wheeler........they already have numerous tiny 4 wheelers and they take too large of a footprint ......three [3] wheels are where its at , these little machines are looking very cool and fun to drive,I can't wait until we can start the I-Road......races.......I'll start a savings account just for when these become available!! I WANT ONE!!........LOL :-)