Toyota Motor Corporation is beginning consumer trials of the “i-Road” personal mobility vehicle (earlier post) in the Greater Tokyo Area. The limited trials, which aim to gauge the effectiveness of the electric vehicle in everyday situations in urban areas, will run from 24 March through early June.
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.
The i-Road has been trialed on public roads in Toyota City since early March as part of "Ha:mo", Toyota’s urban traffic system created to explore the possibility of realizing a low-carbon society in which mobility is enhanced by technology. (Earlier post.)
|i-Road. Click to enlarge.|
The i-Road offers a novel riding experience, combining the convenience of a motorcycle with the comfort and stability of a car. The i-Road to be used in the consumer trial in Tokyo is based on the model shown as a concept at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013, but is now available in five colors and features improved visibility, ease-of-use and maneuverability.
Toyota will provide ten vehicles to approximately 20 test participants, ranging from members of the general public to trend and industry experts. Feedback will be collected concerning driving feel, user satisfaction, ease-of-use in urban areas, and impact on destination choices.
In addition to the upcoming trial in Tokyo, Toyota will continue to conduct research into ultra-compact electric vehicles for optimal short-distance travel within urban areas.