Saturday, September 13, 2014

Toyota i-Road goes to France for urban mobility experiment

Toyota i-Road Toyota i-Road Toyota i-Road Toyota i-Road
As many as 70 of these Toyota i-Road electric trikes will be a part of a new urban mobility project in Grenoble, France

It's not really a motorcycle, of course, but with just three wheels, the Toyota i-Road tilting trike is just about close enough. First shown in March last year, Toyota's compact, battery-powered three-wheeler is now going places - the Japanese company is providing 70 of these for Cité lib by Ha:Mo, an urban mobility project that will be launched in Grenoble, France on 1st October. Here, during a 3-year trial scheme, the i-Road will be available for public car sharing on local journeys. This low-carbon car sharing scheme is expected to transform the way people plan and make local journeys.

The plan is actually rather interesting. From 1st October, anyone 18 or older, who holds a valid driving licence, can register with Cité Lib to gain access to these Toyota electric trikes. Once subscribed to the service, they can download an application on their smartphone or tablet to see the real-time location of vehicles that are charged and ready to use.

Users will be able to pick up their Toyota trike and drop it off at a different location – at any of the 27 charging stations in the greater Grenoble area – rather than having to make a round-trip. When the vehicle is dropped off, it is plugged into the station to be recharged and ready for the next customer.

The concept is seen as a way of building a better-integrated public transport service, where people collect an electric vehicle from a location near their home or office to drive to a local transport hub for the next stage of their journey. Likewise, people arriving by bus or train can step into one of these electric trikes on arrival, to complete the last leg of their trip. The network of charging stations is seamlessly connected to Grenoble’s transport network IT system, to make total journey planning easier. Sounds good, right?

The Toyota i-Road is actually a smart little thing, with Toyota's clever 'Active Lean' technology, which allows this trike to lean into corners like a motorcycle. The trike is about the size of a maxi-scooter, but has a full canopy for weather protection, and car-type seating and controls. "This project came to fruition because all of its partners have the same aspiration - to be a part of creating a future for urban mobility. Urban mobility solutions will be a key growth area for Toyota in the future. We are very excited to be working alongside the people of Grenoble in solving urban traffic problems," says Takeshi Uchiyamada, Chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation.

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