The following article is sponsored by Toyota. – Ed.
As the technology matures, we’re starting to see more and more electric vehicles on our motorways. What started out as a slow, somewhat boring type of locomotion is becoming increasingly interesting, and Toyota’s i-Road may be the most intriguing vehicle we’ve come across in a while.
The i-Road is a zero-emissions three-wheeled electric vehicle, with a 50km (31miles) range, which features Active Lean technology. This means the two front wheels are able to go up or down automatically to make the vehicle lean into corners, giving the riders a sensation similar to that of skiing. Another way to look at it is that it’s a bit of a cross between a motorcycle and a car. Except unlike in a motorcycle, it’s the i-Road that determines the best lean angle based on your speed and how tightly you’re turning, automatically actuating the front wheels. It also features a comfortable cabin that shelters you from the elements and lets you listen to music.
Measuring just 870 millimeters wide, the i-Road is able to ride on the side of the lane, leaving space for other cars to pass. This gives it true urban mobility, with enhanced maneuverability in crowded city environments. It’s so small, it only needs a quarter to half of a regular parking space.
This EV is currently being tested in the city of Grenoble, France, as part of a ride sharing effort called Cité Lib by Ha:mo. Toyota provided 35 i-Road’s for this test, and there are charging stations throughout the city, which allow people to rent the vehicle for a short trip and to drop it off at a station near their destination. The idea is to solve the “last-mile problem”, by which a large portion of the population doesn’t reside within easy walking distance to their nearest point of access to public transportation. By installing charging stations in these areas, Grenoble residents are able to use the application to view availability of EVs, book the vehicles and have easier (and greener) access to the city’s entire public transportation infrastructure.
If you wish to find out more about the project, follow the link below.