Toyota rolls through pedestrian zones on a three-wheeled e-scoot
As we discovered at CES 2016, gliding between press conferences on an expansive show site is much less tiring than walking. It's a similar story when rushing between gates at airports or wandering around a giant shopping mall. Toyota seems to think so too, announcing the Japanese release of a three-wheeled stand-up electric mobility scoot called the C+walkT.
Going on sale from today at Toyota car dealers for a starting price of JPY 341,000 (about US$3,000), but also heading to rental/leasing operations, the C+walkT is designed to roll a rider quietly and cleanly through pedestrian-only areas, large-scale business parks, university campuses, and so on. Though the company says that ever-changing local regulations could see it also trundle along public roads at some point in the future.
The steering control features a central display with buttons for lighting and a horn, and levers for acceleration and braking, and has a kind of senior's mobility scooter feel about it. Indeed, one of the proposed use cases is to "ease the burden of walking on elderly users engaged in security work." The vehicle also comes with obstacle detection cooked in, which offers a visual alert and a sound alarm, while also slowing the vehicle down to 2 km/h (1.2 mph), to help prevent collisions with other users, obstacles and pedestrians.
The 0.25-kW brushless DC motor in the front wheel can get folks up to 10 km/h (6.2 mph), though it's primarily designed for rolling through facilities at lower speeds, and the removable Li-ion battery is reckoned good for around 2.5 hours or 14 km (8.7 miles) of gliding around between charges. And if you find yourself going the wrong way down a narrow path, a tight turning circle of 0.59 m (2 ft) should help get you moving in the right direction.
The C+walkT is 700 mm (27.5 in) in length and 450 mm (17.7 in) at its widest point, it can support rider weights up to 100 kg (220 lb), its resin body comes in a two-tone finish, and each of the three wheels is wrapped in puncture-proof tires.
It's clearly quite a niche vehicle, but the e-mobility mix looks set to be a varied one so this low-powered e-scoot could find a user base somewhere between Segways, hoverboards and electric kickscooters. It is pricey though, so we'll just have wait and see how many of these things shift in its initial market.
There's no word on whether the C+walkT will see commercial release outside of Japan at this point, but Toyota already has other personal e-mobility solutions in development, including a seated e-scoot and one capable of pulling a wheelchair along.