Earlier this week, the Japanese automaker started testing the super-narrow vehicles in Toyota City, Japan. They're part of a broader scheme called "Ha:mo" in which people can link shared vehicles with public transportation systems to get around with minimal environmental impact. Grenoble, France, will be the recipient of some i-Road EVs for a vehicle-sharing project that starts later this year. The i-Road weigh about 660 pounds, is less than a yard wide and has a 28 mile per hour top speed.
The i-Road was first shown off at the Geneva Motor Show early last year and shortly thereafter was the subject of a groovy video that showed a group of four cruising and leaning through the streets of a Mediterranean village in France. Check out Toyota's video on the vehicle-testing program and the official press release below and read our driving impressions here.
Residents of Toyota City, Japan, might be wondering what they just saw on the street. If it had three wheels and was leaning around a corner, it was the "i-Road", Toyota's ultra-compact all-electric, all-fun concept.
On Sunday, the i-Road, which weighs a mere 300 kg and is less than 90 cm wide, was let loose on public roads at an event to mark its introduction into "Ha:mo", Toyota's optimized urban transport system. Soon, even more i-Roads will be zooming around Toyota city when they are made available to residents at vehicle-sharing stations. And later this year the lucky residents of Grenoble, France, will also be able to have some three-wheeled fun, thanks to a vehicle-sharing project that will last until 2017.
Besides being an absolute blast to drive, how could the i-Road actually help you out? Well, picture the following:
You just got off work. You get a phone call. You need to get across town, pronto, because your wife just went into labor. But your car is in the shop, there's no time to call a taxi, and your co-workers with cars are stuck doing overtime. Oh, and it's raining.
What do you do?
In comes the i-Road to save the day. Luckily, there's a Toyota EV-sharing station by your office. Cool as a cucumber, you use your smartphone to plan your route: i-Road to the station 5 km away, and train straight to the hospital. You book the i-Road, and within a couple minutes you're weaving smoothly through the rush-hour gridlock. You get to the train station right on time, and, since the i-Road has a closed canopy, you didn't even wet your carefully groomed hair. Day saved, all thanks to the i-Road.