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Toyota unveils i-ROAD 3-wheeled electric personal mobility vehicle concept at Geneva

4 March 2013

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i-ROAD concept showing Active Lean in action. Click to enlarge.

Toyota unveiled the new i-ROAD three-wheeled electric personal mobility vehicle (PMV) concept at the Geneva motor show. Seating two in tandem and under cover, i-ROAD has a range of up to 30 miles (50km) on a single charge. Using “Active Lean” technology, it is safe, intuitive and enjoyable to drive, with no need for driver or passenger to wear a helmet.

The all-electric powertrain uses a lithium-ion battery to power two 2 kW motors mounted in the front wheels, giving brisk acceleration and near-silent running. Driving range is around 30 miles, after which the battery can be fully recharged from a conventional domestic power supply in three hours.

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i-ROAD. Click to enlarge.

The ultra-compact i-ROAD measures 2,350mm long and 1,445mm high and has a 1,700mm wheelbase. At only 850mm in width, it is no wider than a conventional two-wheeler. Not only does this make for easy maneuvering through congested traffic, it also means four can be parked in a single parking bay.

Toyota’s Active Lean system uses a lean actuator and gearing mounted above the front suspension member, linked via a yoke to the left and right front wheels. An ECU calculates the required degree of lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information, with the system automatically moving the wheels up and down in opposite directions, applying lean angle to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering.

The system also operates when the PMV is being driven in a straight line over stepped surfaces, the actuator automatically compensating for changes in the road to keep the body level. The minimum turning circle is just three meters.

No special skills are needed to pilot i-ROAD; the Active Lean system offers a driving experience with the enjoyment of riding a two-wheeler, but with no need for the driver to stabilize the vehicle when maneuvering at low speed, or when stationary.

As the driver doesn’t have to put his or her feet on the road surface at any time, i-ROAD can be fitted with a safer, weatherproof, closed body and so can be driven without wearing a helmet. This design also allows for a more car-like environment on board, with the potential for features such as lighting, heating, audio and Bluetooth to be provided.

Toyota is paving the way for several types of eco car to co-exist in the future, by adapting its Hybrid Synergy Drive technology for use in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), electric vehicles (EVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). While hybrids, plug-in hybrids and FCVs are ideal for mainstream use over medium to long distances, Toyota believes in the feasibility of EVs to serve as a main mode of transport for short urban journeys, and has 10 years’ experience in the research and development of PMVs.

People using this kind of vehicle want something that is more comfortable, offers better weather protection and is safer than a two-wheeler such as a scooter or motorcycle, but has similar benefits of low running costs, easy parking and around-town maneuverability, Toyota proposes.

Toyota envisages its i-ROAD concept has the potential to play a significant role in reducing urban traffic congestion and air pollution. Commuters can use public transport or conventional private vehicles to travel to urban perimeter transportation hubs where they will transfer to the Toyota i-ROAD to complete their journeys into the city center.

March 4, 2013 in Electric (Battery), Personal Transit, Urban mobility | Permalink | Comments (8) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

I think this is a great idea. It looks cool and it's an innovative idea. I wouldn't want to drive one on the highway, but for just getting around town I think it would be great.

The idea is not new at all but no big car manufacturer had showed any interest in it so for. To me this type of vehicle should have a huge future, most cars on the road today are single occupants and our parking, highways, street are saturated particularly in Europe. This type ofe vehicle is very efficient and can reduce Carbon footprint / miles bu a factor 4 compared to a 4 passenger car. This vehicle has a huge future in Asia and Europe. They need to increase the range though because 30 miles is not enough.
I wished Peugeot or Renault would have taken the plunge but they are stuck in the classical car geometry...too bad

Very practical for inner city core driving and narrow streets. It would also more than double the 'on street' parking capacity. Cities with combo parking meters-chargers could make a killing.

No doubt that future advanced batteries will give 100+ miles range. Higher speed models are a strong possibility for out of town people.

GM built a 3-wheel lean machine around 1982. It was probably harder to get into than the above Toyota but it was supposed to have the cornering and acceleration performance of the contemporary Corvette, was totally enclosed and got 200 mpg with a small gas engine. It looked like it would actually be fun to drive. I actually saw it the 1986 World's Fair in Vancouver, BC. See www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngn7Io4HtdU or google gm lean machine for more info.

Concerning not wearing a helmet, I think wearing a helmet in the above vehicle would be a good idea. I have personally trashed 2 helmets driving a motorcycle and am still walking to talk about it.

http://www.maxmatic.com/ttw_index.htm

> it is safe, intuitive and enjoyable to drive, with no need for driver or passenger to wear a helmet.

If it does not meet the federal crash standards for passenger vehicles (and I don't see how it possibly could), it would be classified as a motorcycle and in most states, the driver and passengers would be required to wear helmets.

Toyota has a great concept (Narrow, Enclosed, Tilting, Commuter); BUT its limited performance (30 mi. range, 28mph speed) severely limits its practicality and marketability in today's society. While less than 30mph might be OK for a city center; getting there on 45-55mph roads would be impractical and dangerous. Most city dwellers live in apartments and high rises and would find parking, storing and recharging impractical. Might be good for a “Car Sharing” business. Now if Toyota could come up with an i-Road-2 with 100 mile range and a top speed of 65-75mph, then they would have the “Commuter of the Future” for suburbanites , and would sell hundreds of thousands; I know I'd buy one!

Allen, many states DO NOT require helmets for riders over 18 years of age, and other states have a helmet "exemption" for ENCLOSED motorcycle-style vehicles; but it does vary by state. Best to check your local DMV.

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