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Toyota I-Road – ...

March 16, 2015 15:02

Automakers, these days, are focusing on green technology to offer zero-emissions and more efficient vehicles. Hybrid/ electric cars, however, are heavier and expensive than internal combustion-engined vehicles. But, the Japanese carmaker, Toyota, brought an innovative solution – the i-Road. It’s an ultra-compact, three-wheeled electric concept that looks like a cross between a bike and car.

The concept has been referred as a personal mobility vehicle by the company. The car can accommodate two passengers, but in racing bike position i.e. as narrow as possible. It measures 92.5 inches in length, 33.5 inches in width and 56.9 inches in height. Toyota claims that it’s not wider than a bike. The electric car has a fully enclosed passenger cell with a roof panel that ensures protection against the foul weather and driver’s safety. It remains upright without manual efforts as the driver doesn’t have space to move his/ her foot.

The Toyota i-Road is boasted with Active Lean technology, a self-righting gadgetry, which consists of a geared actuator attached on suspension of the front wheels. The leaning degree of the each front wheel is monitored and controlled by a computer that maintains a balance between both the front wheels. The system uses a gyroscope, steering angle and car’s speed to make it lean at corners and steady at low revs. It also reforms imbalance and road imperfections, while driving in a straight line.

The car gets a squircle-shaped steering wheel instead of handlebars. It’s a front-wheel drive electric car. The power is delivered by a 2.7bhp in-hub electric motor with lithium-ion battery, affixed at each front wheel that claims to have a driving range of 30 miles. This battery takes only 3hrs to get charged by a conventional domestic power supply. Toyota’s electric car concept looks unique and claimed to offer pleasing driving experience.

The i-Road is likely to gain a favor in the Japanese and European markets, if it goes into production. The Japanese carmaker’s subsidiary, TKM, too, sells several eco-friendly Toyota cars in India. We have very few green cars in India, and a car like i-Road will certainly be a boon for eco-conscious drivers and people who live in congested urban areas.

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