Motor vehicles account for 26% of the US greenhouse emissions which contributes to climate change. In turn Climate change causes extreme weather patterns, which are disruptive, deadly, and expensive, such as Hurricane Sandy. But crisis spawns innovation such as in the case of Toyota’s all electric i-ROAD vehicle. Its smaller footprint fits the needs of many people from a convenience and environmental standpoint with the added benefit–it is fun to drive!
Zero Emissions=Reduction in Greenhouse Gases
The beauty of this three wheel car is its zero emissions. However, given that it can be driven rain or shine, and can carry two people (one adult and one small person in the back) it is more useful and appealing than a motorcycle or scooter.
Parking this car is a breeze given its diminutive size of 33.5 inches wide, 56.9 inches high, and 92.5 inches long.
Traffic Congestion Alleviated
But that’s not all. The i-ROAD helps to solve traffic congestion if the proper public transportation infrastructure is in place.
According to a 2010 article in USA Today, traffic congestion has increased over 11 percent in 70 of 100 metro areas in the US. That year, Americans drove over 3 trillion miles. Astoundingly, a 2013 study reported that 95% of trips are shorter than 30 miles with the weighted average trip distance being 9.4 miles.
Toyota’s goal is to create a stress-free transportation experience through the use of its one mile mobile application. The phone application provides the most efficient and quickest route to your destination through a combination of car to public transportation to small vehicles such as an i-ROAD or electric assist bicycle to complete the journey.
Traffic congestion increases local pollution, more accidents, and greenhouse gas emissions.
This Car is Downright Fun
But let’s be honest. Beyond the zero emissions and reduced traffic congestion, the i-ROAD has a truly fun streak. As I watched the video below, I thought this car would be so much fun to drive. The driver in the video zips around town similar to a motorcycle but with the convenience of a car. According to the Company,
“The automatic active lean mechanism, developed based on the body movement of skiers and running animals, gives the driver the sensation of being totally at one with the machine.”
Car and Driver explains the lean mechanism in laymen terms as follows:
“it consists of a geared actuator affixed to each front wheel’s suspension arm. A computer manages the degree of lean of each front wheel—as the angle of lean of one wheel increases, the other lowers by the same amount—using steering angle, a gyroscope, and vehicle speed to induce lean in corners or keep the i-ROAD steady at low speeds. The system also can filter out potentially balance-upsetting road imperfections when traveling in a straight line.”
Watch the video below to see the active lean technology. It is quite fascinating. I bet you want to drive this car too.
How Does i-ROAD Drive?
Since I wasn’t able to drive the car, I relied on other driver’s reviews.
Joshua Topolsky of Verge.com stated after his test run of the car:
“The i-Road is fantastically maneuverable, able to take extremely tight turns at slow speeds. It’s also super responsive, reacting quickly to your slight movements and able to stop on a dime.”
He summed up his experience driving the car as a”pretty exhilarating drive” and “a surprising amount of fun.”
In March, participants of a driving event in Ecoful Town, Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Japan were amazed at the driving experience, and like Joshua, said driving the car was exhilarating.
With the i-ROAD, there is no need for a helmet like a motorcycle or scooter. For us vain hair types, this is a blessing. Who wants helmet hair?
My thoughts? This car would be great for resort areas and in town errand running. In other areas of the world where public transportation is relied upon, this car would be a great addition to finish the final leg of the journey.
Before you get too excited, the car is not for sale. However, an innovative next generation urban traffic demonstration will take place in City of Grenoble, France as a joint project of Toyota Motor Corporation, the City of Grenoble and Électricité de France (EDF) and others at the end of 2014. Seventy ultra compact electric vehicles including the i-ROAD will participate in a large-scale-car-sharing project.
The future of mobility with a smaller carbon footprint is closer than we think, with the i-ROAD being on the forefront of this technology. It will be exciting to see the reaction to the Grenoble project. Here’s to the future of less stress, greenhouse gases, and traffic congestion.
Photo courtesy of Toyota.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Toyota. The opinions and text are all mine.