Its appearance is certainly far from any electric personal mobility vehicle you may know today. It sure does not appear to be an electric scooter, bike, or moped – it can accommodate more than one person. In addition, it is certainly not a self-balancing type. It can protect the riders and has the feel of a Velo mobile. So, what is it really? Read on to know more about Toyota’s electric personal mobility vehicle called the i-Road.
The Novel Concept
The new concept embraced by Toyota i-Road speaks highly of the latest changes in urbanizations. The combination of motorbikes and cars offers a platform where riders can enjoy the benefits of riding these two vehicles. Toyota has sought to design an electric personal mobility vehicle that would be considered next-generation in terms of its size, environmental performance, and the driving experience it offers.
The Toyota i-Road: At A Glance
This electric personal mobility vehicle offers a big advantage for all types of users. Furthermore, it is equipped with technology that is designed to maximize the performance, experience, and comfort. Check the fundamental features of the Toyota i-Road.
On the Driving Experience
From the first look, you can already see that the i-Road is designed to give the comfort and performance of a motorbike plus a car. Engineers behind this electric personal mobility vehicle have developed it to give the ski-like sensation. To achieve this, the right and left front wheels of this electric personal mobility vehicle can respond automatically to the steering of the driver. They can move up and down either independently or in synchronized motion. When the driver reaches a corner or a sharp turn, the Toyota i-Road automatically chooses the suitable lean angle. The result is an astonishing skiing-like experience which gets even better the more you use this electric personal mobility vehicle.
On its Compact Size
As there is a need for urban design to evolve, the vehicles and users need to change as well. As for the Toyota i-Road, the ultra-compact design offers an extra space on the city road. Yes, driving it makes the roads feel so much wider. The i-Road as a width of only 870mm which makes it capable of maneuver even in confined spaces. This electric personal mobility vehicle can be driven on urban roads and will not take up an entire lane. When it comes to parking, this would only require a parking space that is 50% of the usual space needed to park a car.
On Comfort, Stability, and Balance
Convenience and comfort are just two of the basic targets of the i-Road. This electric personal mobility vehicle offers the comfort and convenience as wit driving a motorbike. However, it does not require users to wear a helmet. It also adds the comfort of keeping the driver dry from sudden rain pour and protected from the extreme heat of the sun. The vehicle itself is designed to maintain its own balance especially on uneven surfaces , slopes, and sharp curves. This electric personal mobility vehicle is designed to give riders utmost safety and comfort.
The Toyota i-Road is also equipped with a multi-modal navigation system. It means that this electric personal mobility vehicle is capable of analyzing the traffic conditions and makes use of the data to deliver information on the most efficient route through a smartphone application. This smart technology provides route alternatives to the riders and offers a viable solution to reduce the traffic congestion of the city. The data is automatically analyzed by the app from the information it gets from the vehicle itself and the city.
On Environmental Friendliness
Another reason that the Toyota i-Road came to light is because of Toyota’s vision to create products that are also sustainable in the long run and which are highly environmentally friendly. This electric personal mobility vehicle is equipped with lithium-ion batteries. Each i-Road has Zero CO2 emission thanks to its power source. The Li-ion batteries also power it up to gain a consistent maximum speed of 30 km/h and a maximum drive range of 50 kilometers on a single charge.
The Technical Specification of the Toyota i-Road
As mentioned earlier, each model has a width of 870 mm while its length and height are 2345mm and 1455mm respectively. It comes with an 80/90-16 and 120/90-10 front and rear tires. The turning radius is 2.3 meters. The maximum speed is highly dependent on the location. In Japan, it can run up tp 60 km while in Europe, it can go up to 45kh. Note that the difference in speed is due to the existing European regulations. This electric personal mobility vehicle also has an impressive cruise range of up to 50 kilometers on just a single charge.
The i-Road and the Open Project
An Open Road Project was established to encourage the use of this electric personal mobility vehicle. The project was launched in July 2015 and is expected to continue for about a year or two. The Open Road Project has several participants from consumers to specialist companies. The concept is simple – Toyota provides 10 units of the i-Road electric personal mobility vehicle to be used by 100 different participants. Participants are from all walks of life – regular residents, professionals, experts, etc. Their task to try the i-Road and provide their feedback in terms of experience and other aspects. The feedback and all information obtained in the aspect of user experience shall be utilized by Toyota in identifying the key strengths of this electric personal mobility vehicle and in improving and developing other Toyota services and projects.
The Toyota i-Road and the Monitoring of Survey
Without a doubt, this electric personal mobility vehicle has evolved and become a part of today’s urban life in key cities such as Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefecture. These two areas were among the first cities where the Open Road Project took place. As expected, results from the survey and based on the users’ feedback were outstanding
Achieving Greater Freedom
The Open Road Project has also been regarded as among the first firm steps taken by Toyota that aims to instill greater freedom. The novel level of mobility experience brings forth an even more exciting future for those who are aiming at more innovation, development, and better use of resources. For an auto manufacturing giant like Toyota, the i-Road has laid the groundwork for an even richer experience geared towards technology, personal mobility, and sustainability.
The Toyota i-Road Verification Project in France
This electric personal mobility vehicle has likewise been used on the roads of Grenoble, France. Since the last quarter of 2014, an EV sharing project that included the Toyota i-Road units took place in the beautiful mountainous area of Grenoble. What makes it even more exciting is that the i-Road became a part of a new urban traffic system specifically for compact electric vehicles which can be used as the public form of transport. This smart transport system was launched in Grenoble in an effort to provide mobility alternatives that would ease traffic congestion and would likewise reduce CO2 emission.
In this verification project, smartphone apps can be used to select the best route as well as to reserve the electric personal mobility vehicle individual wishes to use. The charging status, the location, and the optimal route you can take can all be determined using the smartphone app. The result of the project has made a massive impact that even Discovery Channel made a feature story about it.
Another key important outcome that was brought about by the i-Road Verification Project is the social impact it has on the local residents of towns where it is now being used. The presence of these compact electric personal mobility vehicle has provided the people a greener and viable option for getting to and from work and for getting around the city.