The one thing which is synonymous in visitor’s minds about Japan is how efficient their public transportation is. When a train system which boasts an average delay of 0.6 minutes/train, I am surprised both Honda and Toyota were also focusing on personal transportation. So when Toyota Motor Corporation announced the start of consumer trials of the “i-Road” personal mobility vehicle in the Greater Tokyo Area, my curiousity piqued.
The limited trials, which aim to gauge the effectiveness of the electric vehicle in everyday situations in urban areas, will run from March 24 through early June.
The i-Road offers a novel riding experience, combining the convenience of a motorcycle with the comfort and stability of a car. The i-Road to be used in the consumer trial in Tokyo is based on the model shown as a concept at the 43rd Tokyo Motor Show 2013, but is now available in five colors and features improved visibility, ease-of-use and maneuverability.
Toyota will provide ten vehicles to approximately 20 test participants, ranging from members of the general public to trend and industry experts. Feedback will be collected concerning driving feel, user satisfaction, ease-of-use in urban areas, and impact on destination choices.
In addition to the upcoming trial in Tokyo, the i-Road has been trialed on public roads in Toyota City since early March as part of “Ha:mo“*1, Toyota’s urban traffic system created to explore the possibility of realizing a low-carbon society in which mobility is enhanced by technology. Toyota will continue to conduct research into ultra-compact electric vehicles for optimal short-distance travel within urban areas.