Toyota News: i-Road Public Testing, Mazda2-Based Yaris

Posted by Stephen On Friday, March 14th, 2014

While we’re waiting for the 2014 Beijing Motor Show to kick off in April, talk of new Japanese cars has slowed to a standstill. However, we have a couple interesting stories relating to Toyota this week that we’re sure our well-rounded readers would love to know more about.

Toyota i-Road Makes Public Debut in Japan

Toyota i-Road EV

The Toyota i-Road has been in private testing for the past year among a select few Japanese drivers. The innovative little trike had a lot of hoops to jump through with various Japanese government organizations to ensure that the vehicle was safe and road-ready. However, now Toyota is ready to take the next step with their three-wheeled EV city car.

From here on out, the lucky residents of Toyota City in Japan will be able to officially participate in Toyota’s new “optimized urban transport system,” known as Ha:mo. The i-Road fits into that system as one of the key vehicles that Japanese drivers will be able to ‘borrow’ via special Toyota EV-sharing stations.

But, Ha:mo is more than just vehicle sharing stations… It aims to be a convenient and accessible urban transportation system that allows you to plan flexible routes around the city and make optimal use of all available public transportation. Using your smart phone, you can plan a route from wherever you are to wherever you need to be, making equal use of EV sharing stations, trains, buses, and whatever else is available.

Take a look at one of Ha:mo’s vehicle sharing stations, and the Toyota i-Road in action, below:

For our non-Japanese readers, don’t despair – the Toyota i-Road will make its way into Grenoble, France later this year, and we’re sure Toyota is looking at other cities throughout Europe (and perhaps the rest of the world) for the future.

Mazda2-Based Yaris to Use SkyActiv Tech.

Mazda Hazumi Concept

All the way on the other side of the world, Toyota and Mazda have just confirmed an agreement that will involve the next-gen Toyota Yaris. Apparently, Toyota intends for the next North American version of the Yaris to be based off the Mazda2 subcompact. Not only that, the vehicle will also be built in Mazda’s brand-new Mexico plant, and will use a vehicle-tuned SkyActiv direct-injection engine.

The agreement won’t actually come into fruition until sometime during 2015, but it’s a win-win for both automakers. Toyota gets to save on exporting, and gets to use a proven, high-quality vehicle and powertrain. Mazda gets to make full use of their Mexico operations, and the brand-awareness that naturally comes when you work with Toyota.

Whether or not the new Mazda2-based Toyota will be based off the current Mazda2 or the one previewed by the Hazumi Concept remains to be seen, but logically we’d expect it to be the latter.

This is great news for Mazda fans and Toyota fans alike, and we’re thrilled to see Mazda’s SkyActiv technology finally get the recognition it deserves.

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