March 7, 2013

Toyota Unveil New Car-Scooter Hybrid: The I-Road.

The Toyota i-Road will be making its début at the Geneva motor show over the next few days and it looks set to tear up the personal mobility rulebook.

The compact, all-electric three-wheeler offers a supposedly comfortable enclosed cabin for two occupants and features ‘Active Lean’ technology that pitches the vehicle through corners like a scooter.
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The zero emissions, near silent powertrain gives a range of 30 miles, with recharging from a conventional power supply taking just three hours.

The i-Road Concept aims to offer future commuters all the benefits of a scooter or motorcycle but with added comfort and safety as standard.

Toyota says: “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 manoeuvrability.”

The little i-Road measures 2,350mm long, 1,445mm high and just 850mm wide, making it no wider than a standard two-wheeler. That means the driver can benefit from the ability to ‘filter’ through traffic, something the current Renault Twizy can’t do.

Thanks to the “Active Lean” technology, the driver never has to put his or her feet on the ground, meaning Toyota could create a much safer and waterproof shell for added comfort. The 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 concept is just that for the time being but Toyota hopes that creations like this will play a significant role in reducing urban traffic congestion and air pollution.

For images, see here:

What do you think? Would you drive this unusual yet ground-breaking vehicle? Sound off in the comments section below!

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