The Toyota i-ROAD is a brand new concept in urban mobility, an ultra-compact three-wheeled, all-electric car that mixes the convenience of a motorcycle with the comfort and stability of a car. The i-ROAD is driven at the front wheels by twin 2-kW electric motors, and steered at the rear wheels, as the articulating front end allows the i-Road to lean into corners as a motorcycle would, to maintain stability and composure.
In urban areas where traffic is a real problem, an ultra-compact vehicle like the i-ROAD makes perfect sense, giving you the maneuverability of a traditional motorcycle or scooter, while keeping you protected from the elements. And you don’t need to wear a helmet either, which should keep the ladies happy since their hair won’t get messed up.
What’s really unique about the i-Road is that the vehicle maintains balance (not the driver), meaning anyone can drive the Toyota i-ROAD safely and comfortably. This is achieved through the utilization of “Active Lean” technology that calculates the required degree of tilt based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information. The car stays quite upright at low speeds; but as soon as the driver speeds up and then rounds a corner, the i-Road leans at more of an angle. The whole arrangement has been likened to a skier’s legs, as the video above demonstrates.
The i-ROAD is a smart approach to the issue of traffic congestion in crowded cities, and they’re testing this theory out in Grenoble, France. Through The Cité lib by Ha:mo car sharing program, residents of Grenobe have the opportunity to test drive the ultra-compact EV for 3 years, with the aim for smoother transportation flow within the city.
For hassle-free coordination, users in this project were supplied with a smart phone app, also called Cité lib by Ha:mo. This app not only confirms the availability of the station, charging status and reservation of EVs, but also offers the information through the coordination with Station Mobile that provides a search system which searches car-charging stations and routes within Grenoble.
We give Toyota a lot of credit for addressing a real problem, and we believe the i-ROAD represents a true opportunity for a more responsible and sustainable urban development.
For more information about the Toyota i-ROAD, please visit The Grenoble Toyota Project page.
This post has been sponsored by Toyota, but all thoughts are our own.