The Toyota i-ROAD, a small urban electric vehicle, will be tested by about 20 drivers. The test will give Toyota Motor Corporation feedback on how the queer-looking electric vehicle drives; its ease of use, and whether driving such a tiny vehicle affects destination options.
The striking i-ROAD is just 7 feet long, less than 5 feet tall and 2.8 feet wide (the same as a motorcycle). It comes in five bright colors, seats just one and can go about 31 miles on a single charge. It has no emissions and tilts while turning.
Toyota describes the i-ROAD as a "personal mobility vehicle." The ultra-compact three-wheeler was first seen at the March 2013 Geneva Motor Show.
The Toyota i-Road has an electric drive-train and its two 2 kilowatt (2.7 horsepower) motors are powered by a lithium-ion battery that can be charged using a household outlet. One charge has a range of 50 km and a top speed is 45 km/h.
To keep the vehicle from tipping over in turns, Toyota developed what it calls "Active Lean." This is a new technology that counterbalances the centrifugal force when the vehicle goes around a corner and smoothes the ride over rough ground.
On-board computers on each side of the front suspension calculate the degree of lean needed based on input from the steering mechanism, the gyroscope angle and speed.
Currently, the Toyota i-Road is a concept car envisioned for urban use in the future. Toyota has said there are no plans for general production at this time.