I-Road: EDF/Toyota's electric car sharing

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Toyota's I-Road concept is unveiled this Tuesday, March 5 at the Geneva Motor Show as a world premiere. A self-service micro-city car with two seats one behind the other, three wheels and an electric motor, the I-Road concept is a self-service micro-city car with two seats one behind the other, three wheels and an electric motor. equipped with a battery developed by the Grenoble Atomic Energy Commission and for which EDF will install the recharging infrastructure.

Dince the end of 2011, Grenoble residents have been familiar with the thermal version of car-sharing. An electric version is now planned for 2014: the operator of the scheme, Cité lib, has joined forces with Toyota and EDF, as well as the city and the Grenoble urban area, to offer 70 small electric vehicles for self-service hire for a minimum of three years.

This two-seater electric vehicle is described by Toyota as a "compact, fun and zero-emission mobility concept". A little family resemblance with the Renault Twizy ? Or the Land Glider or Nissan's Lumeneo Smera. In any case, the objective is the same: provide fast and efficient urban travel for two people. 

The i-Road stands out with its rocking front end that allows it to lean into corners. This electrically controlled system tilts the vehicle according to the steering angle, speed and information received from a gyro sensor. Toyota specifies that its handling requires no special piloting skills and is completely intuitive. 

iroadinterieur-toyotaOn this i-Road, Toyota looked for compactness. It's barely wider than a two-wheeler (85 cm, or 10 cm wider than a Piaggio MP3 500), allowing it to slip through traffic, unlike the Renault Twizy which is 1.24m wide. Toyota has also sought to offer a level of comfort comparable to that of a conventional car. This tricycle is closed and the passenger compartment is heated. However, this choice will have consequences on its range, estimated at 50 km. That's not much, and like on the Prius rechargeable, Toyota seems to be visibly limiting the battery capacity (here 2 kWh) to the minimum in order to keep the price affordable (three hours are required to fully charge the battery, which plugs under the windshield).

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Aesthetically, I-Road plays on the contrast between black and white, and offers streamlined aerodynamic surfaces. Reduced CO2 and NOx emissions, silence and compactness, I-Road offers a kind of ideal compromise: thehe frontier between cars and two-wheelers is increasingly disappearing in the search for urban mobility...

 

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