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.