High-tech Toyota i-Road hits the streets for first time


Toyota's futuristic 'personal mobility vehicle' has been racing around the streets of Tokyo to see if its three-wheeled set-up can handle the strains of everyday life.

The all-electric tricycle weight just 300kg and is powered by two electric motors, resulting in a maximum speed of 37mph and an impressive range of 30 miles if driven sensibly.

Toyota believes the comfortable, single-seater pods are the answer to the congestion and air pollution problems faced by inner-city inhabitants across the globe.

Twenty individuals have been drafted in by the Japanese marque to run an i-Road for a couple of months to see how it fares on the busy streets of Tokyo.

According to Toyota, those involved in the programme "range from industry experts through to members of the general public" and the marque hopes to "gain a wide range of feedback on what i-Road is like to drive, how easy it is to use around town, how it affects people's decisions about what journeys to make and driver satisfaction."

The i-Road models tested on public roads are improved versions of those shown at last year's Tokyo motor show and feature revised 'Active Lean' technology that uses gyroscopes to aid cornering.

Toyota has also improved visibility and made the test mules "easier" to live with.

According to Toyota, the i-Road handles like a scooter – as it is able to nip in and out of traffic – yet it boasts car-like stability thanks to the two wheels at the front. The slimline exterior also makes parking in tight spaces a doddle.

A two-seater version is destined for Europe later this year, with a number of i-Roads taking part in a vehicle sharing programme that will operate in the French city of Grenoble over the next four years.

Toyota i-Road public testing

Toyota i-Road public testing