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14 March 2013

Toyota's i-Road concept is a practical EV trike for two

Words by Jade Lu | Photos courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation
 
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Toyota is no stranger to unorthodox personal mobility vehicles. Thankfully, unlike their previous four-wheeled experiments, their latest concept is more geared for realistic street use unlike the old egg- or wheelchair-like drones. The name could use a sprucing, though.
 
The Japanese automaker recently debuted the i-Road at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. With three wheels, two seats, and zero emissions, the i-Road is a totally electric concept vehicle meant to reduce the energy consumptions attached to transportation.
 
It stands at less than one meter wide for motorcycle-like maneuverability. And speaking of motorcycle-like, the i-Road is equipped with new Active Lean technology, which automatically leans the vehicle while cornering to provide a safe driving experience without the need for helmets. This is good, especially at higher speeds, but how fast can this thing go, really?
 
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The i-Road is powered by a lithium ion battery mated to two 2kW electric motors mounted in the front wheels. It can run up to about 50 km in a single full charge, after which it can be fully recharged with a conventional power outlet within three hours. There are no official numbers on how fast this can go, but we doubt it would go very fast. Not like it matters. The i-Road is meant to address environmental concerns, not for drag racing on the streets.
 
This three-wheeled two-seater concept vehicle is not anything particularly new, as other manufacturers have their own versions of green machines. But that is not to say Toyota is welcome in joining the race, especially in an all-electric concept. We welcome the i-Road with open arms, hoping a budget-friendly production version of it would come about soon. Manila could really use these!