Is the Toyota i-Road a car or a motorbike? The fact is the i-Road tilts to the side like a motorbike, but has three wheels similar to the Robin Reliant. Although, the Reliant had the opposite wheelbase structure, this was based on two wheels at the back and one at the front. Without a doubt, the Reliant looked like a car, the i-Road is neither.
Is the Toyota i-Road for everyone?
The i-Road is not how we imagine a car to be and to think that Toyota created it is even more baffling. Even so, the i-Road is an ingenious creation. If it is successful, Toyota will make billions. The idea behind the imaginative structure was to create a city battery powered tandem style car. The Toyota i-Road can safely carry two persons and can easily drive thirty miles on one single charge.
The Toyota i-Road is small and compact, for example, four i-Roads can take up one-car parking space. Since, the Toyota i-Road is an enclosed vehicle that requires no helmets to be worn by the driver, or passenger. The i-Road interior offer's car like features such as lighting, heating, entertainment, Bluetooth and more.
This intuitive car is perfectly safe to maneuver in and out of traffic just like a motorbike. Toyota have used a new technology called Active Lean on the i-Road, the actuator is based above the suspension. This helps the car to lean at a perfect angle when taking corners by calculating its speed. The front wheels can then automatically move up or down autonomously; this neutralizes any centrifugal forces when cornering.
Incredibly, the Active Lean technology also operates when the i-Road is maneuvering over uneven surfaces. The actuator is always at work calculating and compensating for any road changes. Furthermore, the Active Lean is also at work with its three metre turning circle. No special skills are required to operate the i-Roads Active Lean compared to using a motorcycle.
The Toyota I-Road can be bought as an enclosed or an open cabin. The open cabin will give this car an appearance of a motorcycle.
Toyota i-Road environmental benefits
The three wheeler is 2,350mm in length, 1,445mm in height, 850mm width; its wheelbase is 1,700mm and it weighs only 300 kg. It is built around an aluminium frame, and its maximum speed is 28 mph. The Toyota i-Road has zero emissions with an electric powertrain, which uses a lithium-ion battery. The battery powers two 2kW engines that are mounted on the front wheels. Once the battery is depleted, it can be fully recharged from any domestic electrical power supply within approximately three hours.
The Toyota i-Road is designed to reduce congestion, emissions and NOx (nitrogen oxide). All of these benefits do reduce maneuverability or compromise road freedom.
The benefit for any vehicle of this kind is its convenience for short journeys. Other hybrid cars have their place, but for longer journeys. At present, the i-Road is not aimed to replace long distance driving vehicles; it is simply an urban vehicle.
The Toyota I-Road meets the public's needs; it is like a cross motorbike, but offers good weather protection. It is less vulnerable than a two wheeler motorcycle and offers more comfort. It offers easy parking, zero emissions and very low running costs.
Toyota has spent years researching and developing energy-efficient motors. They believe they are closer to creating the ultimate Eco motors for everyday use. The Toyota i-Road is safe and not burdensome to the road. It is the beginning of more Eco cars that are already being designed for the future.
As yet, there is no fixed price for the Toyota i-Road and market evaluations will initially be pre-determined in Japan and France, not in the UK.