Toyota have unveiled their new ‘personal mobility vehicle,’ the i-Road, at this year’s Geneva Motor Show. Essentially a full enclosed tilting trike, the battery-powered all-electric i-Road can seat two people in tandem and can travel up to 50km on a single charge. According to Toyota, the i-Road’s ‘Active Lean’ technology has been designed to “provide a safe, intuitive and enjoyable, helmet-free driving experience.”
The Toyota i-Road’s is a zero-emissions vehicle and its all-electric powertrain features a lithium-ion battery, which powers a pair of 2kW electric motors, one each of which is mounted within the front wheels. A full recharge takes three hours and Toyota claim ‘brisk acceleration’ and ‘near-silent running’ for the little three-wheeler.
The i-Road’s ‘Active Lean’ system features a lean actuator motor and gearing mounted above the front suspension, linked via a yoke to the front wheels. An ECU calculates the required lean angle based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information. “The system automatically moves the wheels up and down in opposite directions, applying lean angle to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering,” claim Toyota. “Because the Active Lean system obviates the need for the driver to lower his feet to the road surface at any time, the i-Road is equipped with a safer, weatherproof, closed body construction,” they add.
The i-Road’s rider (driver?) needn’t wear a helmet and gets to enjoy car-like creature comforts – lighting, heating, an audio system and Bluetooth mobile phone connectivity etc. No word on whether the i-Road will actually make it to production but if they do make it, we think this is one Toyota that could actually be fun to ride…