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Toyota’s Three-Wheeled Electric Concept Vehicle

The divide between electric sedans and electric motorcycles might get a bit more crowded if Toyota pursues their new electric concept vehicle, the i-ROAD.

Debuting at the Geneva Motor Show, the i-ROAD promises to offer the best of both worlds for city transport. With tandem seating and an enclosed cabin, it’s so much more than a scooter, yet it’s still small enough to maneuver through traffic with ease and park just about anywhere.

With a three meter turning radius, and measuring just 850mm wide, this “personal mobility vehicle” (PMV) is fully electric, easy to drive, and could be the perfect urban transport vehicle.

According to Toyota, the three-wheeled vehicle uses their new ‘Active Lean’ technology to keep the vehicle balanced when cornering or crossing uneven surfaces, making it “intuitive” to drive, with no special training necessary.

“The [Active Lean] 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, with the system automatically moving the wheels up and down in opposite directions, applying lean angle to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering.” – Toyota

i-ROAD concept vehicle

In addition to being an efficient method of transport, because the vehicle is enclosed, drivers and passengers don’t need to wear helmets, and the cabin keeps the weather at bay. The i-ROAD is powered by a lithium-ion battery, which drives the front wheels via two 2kW motors. The vehicle could cover about 30 miles on a single charge, which would then recharge in as little as three hours.

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