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Toyota i-Road – Geneva Motor Show 2013

Is it a car? Is it a bike? No, it’s the future of personal mobility. This Toyota i-Road concept, set to be unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show, is a personal mobility vehicle (PMV) that combines the benefits of both motorcycle and car travel and is powered by an eco-friendly electric motor.

To keep you safe from the elements as well as the sun’s lethal rays, the i-Road comes equipped with a hard roof and windows, which has the added benefit of saving you from wearing a helmet that could ruin your hairdo.

Yet, unlike a car, the i-Road’s paltry 2,350mm length, 1,445mm height and 850mm width means it can weave in and out of traffic with relative ease, park on a proverbial postage stamp (four can fit in a single parking space) and perform three metre-wide turns.

Designed with busy inner-city life in mind, the i-Road isn’t going to set any speed records but the two 2kW motors mounted in the front wheels provide ‘brisk acceleration’, according to Toyota, as well as a near-silent ride (or is that drive?) and a range of 30miles ─ enough for a fair few trips into town and back.

To keep downtime to a minimum, the i-Road will charge from empty to full in three hours via a standard wall socket, which means you won’t need to install any fast-charging technology to get the most from your eco-friendly ride.

As you may have noticed in the pictures, the Toyota i-Road leans when cornering – a bit like a motorbike. It uses Active Lean Technology, a combination of an on-board computer and gyro-sensor that calculates the necessary angle to lean in a corner, with a clever suspension setup moving the wheels up or down to counter centrifugal cornering forces.

Although space is a premium, Toyota says the i-Road could ferry two people around in relative comfort, with luxuries such as Bluetooth, heating and a sound system in tow. Don’t expect too many mod-cons, though, as battery life is quite precious.

At this stage the Toyota i-Road is just a bizarre-looking concept but it may become a reality, thanks to its manoeuvrability, zero emissions and compact size.



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