We're not sure if you can throw tire chains on the super-narrow Toyota i-Road electric vehicle, but it's a question worth asking. That's because the Japanese automaker is partnering with the French city of Grenoble, located in the Alps, to deploy a car-sharing program that will include about 70 Toyota EVs, including some based on the recently unveiled i-Road concept.

Car-sharing company Cité lib will operate the program, while Électricité de France (EDF) will install the charging network, which will start by the end of next year and will be conducted for three years. Toyota's COMS ultra-compact vehicle will be featured along with the i-Road, which is featured in a nifty little video that was filmed in the South of France (with the i-Roads added digitally).

Toyota debuted the three-wheeled i-Road concept at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this month. The car is about 33 inches wide, so at least it is easily able to weave through narrow streets. Check out Toyota's press release below.
Toyota's car-sharing program for Grenoble


Show full PR text
City of Grenoble, Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, Cité lib, EDF, Toyota Motor Corporation to Launch Ultra-compact Urban EV Car-sharing Project
  • An innovative individual mobility solution to complement existing public transport
  • Toyota to offer nearly 70 ultra-compact urban electric vehicles designed specifically for "last mile" mobility needs
  • A self-service car sharing project, also available for one-way trips, managed by a unique centralised IT system based on a system developed by Toyota; administrated and operated in collaboration with partners
  • EDF Group to install charging point network across Grenoble-Alpes Métropole and maintain it.
  • Three-year project to start by the end of 2014, as a part of Ecocité1 Grenoble development
Grenoble, France, March 4, 2013-The city of Grenoble, the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole2, car-sharing service operator Cité lib, French energy provider Électricité de France (EDF) and Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) signed here today a Memorandum of Understanding to begin by the end of 2014 a collaborative zero-emission ultra-compact urban electric vehicle car-sharing project aimed at addressing "last mile" transportation needs for those using public transportation. Nearly 70 ultra-compact urban electric vehicles will be provided for self-service car-sharing within the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole. This project has also received support from the Ville de demain3 fund for the development of Ecocité Grenoble.

For Grenoble and the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole, a fully electric car-sharing service has been identified as a solution to meet greenhouse-gas and other air-pollutant reduction targets. The project will provide a solution to meet the demand for "last mile" transportation and complement existing public transportation and car-sharing systems. EDF will install a charging network within the Grenoble-Alpes Métropole with charging points placed at public transportation stations to enable "last mile" transport and in areas where there is minimal public transportation. The project aims to fulfil the objectives of local public authorities to respond to the increasing need for mobility in the Ecocité area, while reducing car use.

For TMC, this project is part of research into comprehensive car-sharing schemes to explore the utility and business feasibility of co-modality transport solutions. The main objective of the research is to better understand the interconnection between the different modes of public and individual transportation in an urban environment, as well as to be able to better identify the exact needs of consumers in terms of "last mile" mobility.

For EDF Group, this project enables the evaluation for the feasibility of this new mobility system that is linked with charging stations and optimized for new urban traffic service. In addition, this project will provide a new IC-card-based personal identification and payment system, linking the charging stations with existing public transportation systems.

For Cité lib, this zero-emission urban car-sharing service will complement its current offering of mainly interurban self-service conventional gasoline and diesel car-sharing solutions.

The common challenge of the project will be to broaden consumer understanding and acceptance of car-sharing systems in preparation for its wider use the future.

TMC plans to supply nearly 70 ultra-compact electric vehicles, including the COMS ultra-compact vehicle produced by Toyota Auto Body, as well as a new vehicle based on the Toyota i-ROAD concept vehicle to be unveiled tomorrow at the Geneva Motor Show. These vehicles, with their compact dimensions, have been adapted specifically for urban driving, efficient use of parking spaces, and for "last mile" mobility needs.

TMC will also provide the One-Mile Mobility Management System, a unique centralized IT management system that will enable users to check location and availability of car-sharing vehicles and book them through smartphones. The system will also allow the fleet operator to optimise vehicle allocation throughout the charging station network.

For this project, EDF Group will set up a network of charging stations and introduce a system to manage their location information and availability. EDF Group will also provide knowledge about charging infrastructure and EV car-sharing, enhancing product and service for last-mile mobility.

Cité lib, which operates a car-sharing business in Grenoble, will handle daily operations and customer service. They will be in charge of responding to customer inquiries, subscription management, reservations and maintenance of vehicles and charging stations. They will also optimise vehicle availability throughout the charging station network.

Project overview:

- Start of operation: End of 2014

- Project duration: 3 years

- Partners' roles:

City of Grenoble: Allocation of parking spaces for the car-sharing system
Grenoble Alpes Métropole: Connection to the Mobile Station trip planner
Cité lib: Customer relationship management and daily vehicle and charger maintenance
EDF: Planning, installation and operation of the charging infrastructure
TMC: Supply of nearly 70 electric vehicles and provision of the One-Mile Mobility Management System to manage the interconnectivity between users, vehicles, charging stations and the web-based Mobile Station trip planner
1A French governmental program supporting innovative urban projects such as sustainable urban development, introduction of alternative energy, and new traffic transportation systems. At this moment, 93 programs (in 13 cities) are recognized as "Ecocité". In Grenoble, a program in the northwest of the city is recognized.

2Agglomeration community

3A program supporting projects for new urban models such as innovative public transportation, alternative energy and new lifestyle approaches. The program is funded by a private investment group foundation, le group Caisse des Dépôts.


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 9 Comments
      funride007
      • 1 Year Ago
      Good news; but they will only produce a few (70 total vehicles from different manufacturers). It also may work well in Grenoble (from the train station to the resort), but in a major city it will be much more difficult to identify Pick-up and Recharge locations (and obtain the land). Hope this works out and leads the way to an extended range model (50-100 miles) and one that has a speed usable for normal roads (50-75mph). Then the i-ROAD would be a true “Commuter” and sell tens of thousands.
      Spec
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wait . . . they are actually gonna build it?
      funride007
      • 1 Year Ago
      MTN RANGER, from other pictures and videos in different publications, it seems that the upper and lower glass/plastic panels can be installed or removed (or are optional); in order to get an "enclosed" or "open-air" ride.
      PeterScott
      • 1 Year Ago
      That is fairly big news, because it moves this from another interesting concept, to a concept with production intent. Cool.
      MTN RANGER
      • 1 Year Ago
      Why go through the effort of a covered cabin and not give the doors windows?
        paulwesterberg
        • 1 Year Ago
        @MTN RANGER
        So they can low-ball the price and then sell windows as an optional feature, duh. If not for the pesky nanny-state laws they would make airbags, seat belts and windshield wipers optional also.
      Giza Plateau
      • 1 Year Ago
      Interesting. I'm not sure about that tilt design but I'd like to see how it works in practice. I have a doubt.