Say hello to the Toyota i-ROAD, an all-electric personal mobility vehicle that seats two. The Geneva debutant is a three-wheeler that explores the possibility of having a similarly-sized but more versatile and eco-friendly alternative to conventional two-wheelers in an urban environment.
At 2,350 mm long, 1,445 mm tall and 850 mm wide, it’s tidy in size and no wider than a conventional two-wheeler, making it easy to manoeuvre as a scooter or motorcycle through urban traffic. The i-ROAD is powered by two 2 kW motors mounted in the front wheels, and a lithium-ion battery offers the vehicle an operating range of 50 km on a single charge, with recharging taking three hours.
The occupants sit in tandem in a comfortable, enclosed cabin, and the promise is that the i-ROAD is easy squeezy to pilot, with no special skills required – ‘Active Lean’ technology automatically balances the vehicle when cornering or travelling over stepped surfaces, and the three-wheel configuration means there’s no need to stabilise the vehicle when manoeuvring at low speed or when stationary.
The system uses a lean actuator and gearing mounted above the front suspension member, linked via a yoke to the left and right front wheels. An ECU calculates the required degree of lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information, and the system automatically moves the wheels up/down in opposite directions and applies a lean angle to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering.