- MOTORING NEWS – TOYOTA i-ROAD
DON’T think I’d fancy hitting the high road in one of these on a windy day.
The quirky looking – somewhere between a Twizy, a smart car and a Reliant Robin perhaps – three wheelers are seen as city transport of the future by makers Toyota.
And the Japanese brand has just launched its first public trials of the uber-compact i-Road electric “personal mobility vehicle” to see how it shapes up in the cut-and-thrust of urban driving.
Consumer testing in Tokyo is set to run until early June, with 10 of the single-seater vehicles taking to the city streets.
They’re anxious to discover what i-Road is like to drive, how easy it is to use, how it affects people’s decisions about what journeys to make and driver satisfaction.
The vehicles are based on the concept versions shown at last year’s Tokyo motor show, but with adjustments to improve visibility, ease of use and manoeuvrability.
Toyota says the i-Road’s slim shape and 300kg kerb make it as nimble to handle in traffic as a scooter, but with car-like stability thanks to its two-at-the-front and one-at-the-rear wheel configuration and a leaning attitude when cornering.
More research into i-Road’s potential is underway in Toyota City, where it has recently been introduced into the experimental Ha:mo low carbon urban transport project.
It is also coming to Europe this year with two-seater models set to take part in a vehicle sharing programme in Grenoble, France, over the next four years.
Official Toyota i-Road page http://www.toyota-global.com/showroom/toyota_design/concept_cars/gallery_i-road.html