Posts Tagged ‘i-road’

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.


Toyota i-Road Officially Confirmed for Production in Japan

Posted by Stephen On Saturday, October 12th, 2013

Toyota iRoad

Unsurprisingly, it appears that the new age of personalized transportation will be making its debut in Japan before the rest of the world.  Earlier this week, we learned that Nissan is looking to begin testing their Autonomous Driving system in Japan, in addition to the Nissan Mobility Concept already in use.

Now, coming from the very same CEATEC show as the AD Nissan Leaf, we have another official contender in the race for perfect personal mobility in the Toyota i-Road EV. We’ve just learned that Toyota’s quirky little concept from the 2013 Geneva Motor Show is officially headed for production. And soon, too… Toyota wants to have a fleet of 100 i-Road EVs available by the beginning of 2014.

However, it should be noted that these i-Road EVs won’t be available for normal resale.  Instead, Toyota will use these 100 “personal mobility” vehicles for their nubile Japanese car-sharing system called Ha:mo, which is exclusively available in Toyota City.

For those of you unfamiliar with Ha:mo, it’s an “urban transport system designed to provide transport that is commendable to users, cities in society as a whole by optimally combining personal mobility vehicles… with public transportation.” With a driving radius of 30 miles and a top speed of 28mph, the new batch of Toyota i-Road EVs would obviously fulfill the personal mobility side of the system. But, their true selling point is the unique Active Lean System. This system, which uses two independent motors on the front wheels to adjust the lean of the body, makes it all too easy for the i-Road to navigate tight city streets safely and quickly.

Confirmation of the Toyota i-Road’s production is just one of several upcoming changes to Toyota’s car-sharing system.

In addition to the 100 extra i-Roads being integrated into Ha:mo, Toyota will also be adding 90 “COMS” car-sharing EVs throughout October. They’ll also add 52 Yamaha power-assisted bikes to their fleet, with an additional 40 likely by the end of the year. All of these new vehicles will allow Ha:mo to expand the number of check-in stations in Toyota City from four to 21 by the end of October.  Each of the new stations will be aimed at high-traffic areas, such as train stations and office parks, where drivers are likely to need the most transport. The additional stations will make it easier for drivers to utilize Ha:mo’s one-way feature, which allows you to pick up an EV at one vehicle station and drop it off at another.

In addition to the expansions for Ha:mo’s fleet and vehicle stations, Toyota will also be experimenting with new fee systems.  Basically, they want to make sure that their efforts are going to pay off when all is said and done.  Apparently, a significant part of the current usability experiments will be determining how altering fees between regular and one-time users affects total profits.

Unfortunately, we have no idea when or if the Toyota i-Road “personal mobility” vehicle will ever make it outside of Japan.  It seems unlikely that it would happen before 2015, but we may learn more at the upcoming Tokyo Motor Show. Until then, thanks for reading!


Toyota i-Road Concept Unveiled at Geneva – It’s a Strange One

Posted by Stephen On Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

From the moment we’d originally previewed the Toyota i-Road, we knew it would be something different. Just how different though – how revolutionary – I don’t think any of us could’ve guessed.

I think it’s safe to say that the Toyota i-Road impressed everyone who saw it at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. Toyota didn’t just bring a show car, they brought something functional. It was featured on a small track with hourly driving demonstrations, so competing executives and curious journalists alike got a piece of the little concept gliding through turns and swerves with effortless ease.

Unfortunately, while it’s certainly fascinating to behold the Toyota i-Road leaning through turns in perfect balance (check out the title=”i-Road on the road” target=”_blank”>video), we still don’t have all that much information about the car itself. Nor do we know when we might expect a production model.

Toyota i-Road Concept Car

Here’s what we do know about the Toyota i-Road Concept from the information gained through the Geneva Motor Show and the accompanying press material:

First, the Active Lean technology in combination with an 850mm wheelbase (that’s less than 3 feet wide!) means that this little motorcycle-esque vehicle is perfectly suited for city driving. Apparently you can “park four of the new Toyota PMVs in a single car parking bay,” which should give you a hint of this car’s size. Especially in non-US cities where the roads are traditionally narrower and often more curvy, the i-Road will thrive.

Second, the goal of the i-Road is to “reduce energy consumption and the environmental burden attached to transportation,” specifically in urban areas. As is clear in the video, Toyota envisions charging stations as a part of everyday city-driving, so the 30 mile radius won’t seem nearly so nerve-wracking.

The press release hints that Toyota’s initial inspiration for the i-Road was to combine the efficiency and convenience of motorcycles and mopeds with the safety and comfort of a car and closed body. Clearly, they’re very proud of their Active Lean technology, which is what’s allowed them to create such a narrow wheelbase without sacrificing stability. According to the press release, the “system features a lean actuator motor and gearing mounted above the front suspension member, linked via a yoke to the right and left front wheels. An ECU calculates the required lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information.”

Sounds pretty complicated, but in practice it looks incredibly smooth and intuitive. I’m a little jealous that I won’t get a chance to drive one for a long time (probably), and I’m sure I’m not the only one that feels that way.

All in all, I think it’s safe to say that the Toyota i-Road concept lived up to the hype and more. It’s definitely strange, but I think it’s a good strange. An intriguing strange.

Stay tuned for further updates on this innovative concept from the biggest Japanese car brand in the world – You’ll get ’em as soon as we do.

Source: Autoblog Green


Japanese Cars to Look For at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, March 6th, 2013

It’s finally here. The 2013 Geneva Motor Show opens its doors to the press tomorrow morning, and it’s not just about the LaFerrari and McLaren P1 hypercars. Over the past couple months we’ve reviewed several of the most highly anticipated Japanese cars that will make their debut in Geneva. Today we’re going to wrap up the previews with a summary of which cars and concepts you should look out for over the coming weeks as automakers unleash their newest innovations at the Swiss auto salon.

Geneva Motor Show 2013

Honda Civic Tourer Concept

We’ve already seen official pictures of the new Honda Civic Tourer station wagon concept, but that doesn’t mean we can’t get excited about it. Honda’s new wagon is aimed at the Volkswagen Golf Variant and will only be sold in Europe (at least to start). US drivers will have to be content with the Honda Fit hatchback for the time being.

With any luck we’ll get a glimpse of the Tourer’s interior at Geneva, since that will be a big part of this car’s success (or failure).

Honda will also bring its NSX concept to Geneva, but that’s an old horse we’ve seen before. The slight tweaks will be interesting, but with no promise of a production date it just feels meaningless.

Toyota i-Road Concept

We’ve already talked about the Toyota i-Road concept, but the more we learn about it the more excited we get. I think everyone is curious to see what this concept looks like in the metal. Just check out the pictures Toyota released earlier this week to whet your appetite.

The i-Road looks entirely unprecedented and extremely innovative. The closest thing we’ve seen to it is probably Nissan’s Mobility Concept.

The three-wheeled concept apparently has a miniscule driving range of 30 miles, but it can be charged in just three hours from a normal outlet. Toyota says it’s intended to be used in conjunction with public transportation, or for very close-range errands.

Subaru VIZIV Concept

This is one of the Japanese made concepts that we know the least about. All we’ve seen is one mysterious picture of this new Subaru concept. What we do know, however, is that the VIZIV will demonstrate the future direction of Subaru’s design and technology. You’ll definitely want to stay tuned for more information on this one.

Mitsubishi CA-MiEV and GR-HEV Concept

Everything we know about these two new vehicles from Mitsubishi is taken from unofficial sources and leaked photos. The Mitsubishi CA-MiEV is apparently an electric crossover, while the GR-HEV is a diesel-electric hybrid pickup. Both are said to employ a new electric motor system capable of wireless charging and regenerative braking.

Other than that, we don’t know very much about either of these two fuel-efficient concepts from Mitsubishi. But, I think we’re all excited to learn more.

Stay Tuned!

As you can see, there are more than a few Japanese cars to get excited about at the 2013 Geneva Motor Show. We haven’t even touched on the new Suzuki Crossover concept, the Toyota FT-86 Open concept or the new Nissan Note. Plus, there are some other goodies making a return after their debut at the Detroit Auto Show earlier this year, such as the Infiniti Q50. Stay tuned to our blog over the next couple weeks for coverage of these Japanese cars and more.


Toyota i-Road Concept to Debut at Geneva

Posted by Stephen On Wednesday, February 6th, 2013

Now that we’ve made it into February, the Geneva Auto Show looms ominously on the horizon. Set to take place in early March, the international auto show in Geneva is traditionally expected to feature world debuts of unique and exotic vehicles. From the limited previews we’ve seen, it looks like this year’s motor show won’t disappoint — Ferrari Enzo replacement anyone?

The most interesting car we’ve seen previews for so far has definitely been the new Toyota i-Road concept. A bird’s eye image of the i-Road was officially previewed in a press release from Toyota earlier this week. Very little information was given about the i-Road, but to say the car is intriguing would be an understatement.

First, let’s go over what Toyota gave us in the press release. In addition to giving us information about many of the other cars Toyota will be bringing to the Geneva Motor Show, Toyota said this about the i-Road:

“The Toyota i-Road is a compact, fun and emissions-free personal mobility concept capable of swiftly and efficiently transporting two people in an urban environment.”

In other words, the i-Road is a study in efficiency. Featuring a tandem 1+1 seating arrangement for the driver and a single passenger, the car is supposed to be used for driving around small towns and cities.

Toyota i-Road concept car

It seems likely that the Japanese concept is intended to be a new take on how a plug-in electric vehicle is typically perceived. What we see is a car that is stylish, futuristic and appealing. Still, we really don’t know very much. The picture does give us a little bit more information though…

For one, we can see two semi-detached wheels at the front of the vehicle. The rear swells out enough that it is not possible to distinguish whether the car has one or two wheels in the back, but my admittedly not-always-correct gut tells me that this is a three-wheeled concept. I feel this way partly because the car is so narrow that two back wheels would almost look awkward, but also because three wheels just “seems” more futuristic and cool… Or at least, I can see Toyota executives thinking that way. If Morgan can get away with it, why not Toyota?

Beyond that, we see that the car only has one windshield wiper, one headlight, and what I would guess is a very aerodynamic design. We know nothing about the interior of the car, what the side profile looks like, or exactly how big it will be. For example, will it be shaped like a wedge, or more like a raindrop? Will there be any trunk space? Are there doors on both sides? These are all questions we probably won’t get answers to until Geneva.

In the meantime, though, what do you think about the Toyota i-Road? Obviously Toyota is targeting a younger market with this concept… Do you ever see a car like this taking off? Is this the right direction for plug-in electric vehicles to go? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below:

Source: Autoblog Green