Toyota has reaffirmed its commitment to battery-powered electric mobility by unveiling the funky i-Road concept car this week at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show.
Designed as a flexible and cost-effective mode of transport for busy urban environments, the new i-Road concept is essentially an electric three-wheeler with a closed canopy design.
But the i-Road has one very interesting feature, it's new "Active Lean" self-leaning system designed to automatically balance the vehicle when cornering or traveling over rough surfaces.
The vehicle also features an electric drivetrain, which Toyota says provides a range of about 31 miles on a single charge and a top speed of 28 mph.
A lithium-ion battery powers a pair of 2-kilowatt (2.7-horsepower) electric motors driving the front wheels and takes about 3 hours to charge using an ordinary household power outlet.
But it's the Active Lean technology that's the real highlight here.
Designed to offer high levels of stability, safety and comfort, while also allowing virtually anyone to be capable of driving the i-Road, Active Lean uses a lean actuator and gearing mounted above the front suspension member, linked via a yoke to the left and right front wheels.
A computer 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 forces of cornering. The system also operates when the i-Road is being driven in a straight line over rough surfaces. The actuator automatically compensates for changes in the road to keep the body level.
This design also allows for a more car-like environment, with the potential for features such as lighting, heating, audio and connectivity to be provided. Importantly, occupants--yes, two adults can fit inside via tandem seating--don't need to wear a helmet.
The three-wheeled i-Road measures 7.7 feet long, 4.7 high, 2.8 feet wide, and weighs just over 660 pounds.
Toyota hasn't mentioned any production plans but says it could envisage i-Road-type vehicles replacing cars in busy urban centers in the very near future.
For more from the 2013 Geneva Motor Show, click here.
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I want one if affordable. But they will probably charge $40,000 for it so forget that!
Toyota has a great concept (Narrow, Enclosed, Tilting, Commuter); BUT its limited performance (30 mi. range, 28mph speed) severely limits its practicality and marketability in today's society. While <30mph might be OK for a city center; getting there on 45-55mph roads would be impractical and dangerous. Most city dwellers live in apartments and high rises and would find parking and recharging impractical. Now if Toyota could come up with an i-Road with 100 mile range and a top speed of 65-75mph, then they would have the “Commuter of the Future”, and would sell hundreds of thousands; I know I'd buy one!
Looks like what pops out of the batmobile when Batman gets too old to ride the tumbler.
That is a nice golf cart
A top speed of 28mph? The nerds riding mopeds would blow by you.
28 mph isn't fast enough even for inner-city driving. Other than retirement communities, it's useless. I suspect this will cost several times the price of the NEVs that are popular in the 90+ crowd.
Looks like a great potential improvement in individual efficient transportation!!!!!!