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Putting some lean into driving in the city

Our i-ROAD concept car took a bow at the Geneva Motor Show in 2013 where it made its world premier. Offering a tangible look at how we could be navigating the cities of the future, i-ROAD captured everyone’s imagination with positive solutions to future congestion and environmental pressures.

Flexibility in the city

Weighing a featherweight 300kg and a slender 90cm wide, the i-ROAD Personal Mobility Vehicle (PMV) has been designed to offer greater flexibility in mobility in our cities, while reducing inner city congestion and harmful emissions.

Taking up road-space not much larger than a motorbike, the i-ROAD concept vehicle comfortably accommodates two people sat in tandem. Climbing inside you are safely cocooned within a weatherproof cockpit that benefits from a car-like interior and all the creature comforts it allows, such as heating, lighting and audio systems.

Lean technology

But the i-ROAD’s real party trick is its unique active lean technology. Steering into a corner this intuitive system, that incorporates rear wheel steering, a lean actuator motor and gearing mounted above the front suspension, automatically moves the front wheels up and down in opposing directions. This process applies lean angle to the PMV, which counteracts the centrifugal force that occurs when cornering.

The active lean system also operates when the i-ROAD is being driven in a straight line. The body is kept level by the lean technology, compensating for any changes in gradient of the road, for example, when there is step in the surface. And as there is no need for the driver to lower their feet to stabilise the PMV when slowing down or stopping, they have all the enjoyment of driving a motorbike or scooter while staying dryer, safer and helmet-free.

Zero emission EV

The i-ROAD’s zero emissions, all electric powertrain features a lithium-ion battery that powers two electric motors mounted within the front wheels. Offering brisk acceleration and near-silent running, the PMV has a driving range of over 50km, and can be fully charged from a conventional household power socket within three hours.

With over 10 years experience in the research and development of PMV’s, we believe that electric vehicles (EV’s) should be the primary mode of urban transport for short distances in the future.

The future is here now

And the exciting news is that the future has arrived sooner than you may have thought, as we begin to evaluate EV’s like i-ROAD on our roads now. Soon, a number of our agile PMV’s will be zooming around Toyota City in Japan, where they will be made available for residents to use at vehicle-sharing stations. As well as this, at the end of 2014, residents of Grenoble in France will be lucky enough to try our i-ROAD’s, thanks to another vehicle-sharing project that will run until 2017.

We have been researching and implementing environmentally-friendly solutions to mobility for over 40 years and we believe this is just the beginning for cars like the i-ROAD…


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