Toyota i-Road is the Future of Mobility : A Car and Motorcyle Hybrid, That's What I Think It Is

Yesterday - March 18, 2014 - the French government started to ban 50% of gasoline and diesel fueled cars in Paris in an attempt to lessen the amount of air pollution in the metro. This environmental and health issue has become so bad in the City of Lights that is said that 80 microgrammes of tiny pollutants coming from cars can be traced in every cubic metre of air, which very alarming.

Although no similar ban has been implemented in the Philippines, as someone who regularly rides public transport and drives my own car from Manila to Makati for meetings and events, I am well aware that most of our cities are just as polluted. And worse, a lot of our national roads and avenues are often congested with too many vehicles. I mean, just think about the terrible traffic and smoke from cars along EDSA and Katipunan every morning or during late afternoon rush hour.

Needless to say, a lot of other cities - big and small - across the world likewise suffer from these transport and environmental problems. I shake my head every time I read complaints from my friends on Twitter on the bad traffic situation in the city they're in. From Tokyo to New York, Berlin to Sydney, road congestion is something everyone can relate to.

And that's why when I saw the new i-Road innovative concept vehicle from the legendary Japanese car maker Toyota, I thought, "Finally, an automobile manufacturer has tried to come up with something that can help alleviate our traffic situation and even help lessen air pollution."

Officially unveiled at the 83rd Geneva International Motor Show held in Geneva from March 5 through 17 last year, Toyota i-Road is personal mobility three-wheeler with motorcycle-like maneuverability concept that's ideal for short-distance urban travel and was designed to be a new way to enjoy mobility.

As you can see in the photo, i-Road is an ultra-compact, two-seater electric vehicle offering an enjoyable riding experience with the same level of convenience as a motorcycle. Largely because of its size and its environment-friendly features, i-Road offers a clear solution to various obstacles including congested city roads, lack of parking, as well as other commuting issues, in the path of the development of low-carbon and sustainable urban areas.

According to Toyota, "The ultra-compact body not only offers excellent maneuverability, but also minimizes space needed for parking. The adoption of a newly developed, automatic active-lean system provides great response and an exhilarating driving experience. The Toyota i-Road features a closed cabin so that passengers can proceed helmet-free to their destination in comfort, shielded from the weather in all seasons."

i-Road has yet to be mass produced and released for public consumption but off hand, I'm glad that Toyota Motor Corporation is going all out in its research and development efforts toward the practical adoption of this product as the first in a new category of electric vehicles.

So what are the main or key features of Toyota i-Road, you ask? Well, quoting the Japanese Giant:

Ultra-compact with outstanding maneuverability: With a length of only 850 millimeters, the Toyota i-Road should be able to deliver outstanding maneuverability and could even be driven smoothly along roadsides, leaving road lanes open for other traffic. In addition, the Toyota i-Road's small size would allow it to occupy just three-quarters to one-half of a conventional car parking space!

Convenient, fun and exhilarating: A newly developed and vastly unique active lean system optimally and automatically controls i-Road's body angle when moving, ensuring stable ride and providing an unprecedented feeling of unity with the vehicle that's very different from driving a car or motorcycle.

High-comfort enclosed cabin: Unlike similar vehicle concepts, the Toyota i-Road is equipped with a roof and doors so that the cabin is shielded from the weather to ensure comfort and from road noise and air pollution, and even allow occupants to enjoy music. This cabin even houses two single seats positioned in tandem so you can drive around with your friend or loved one.

Environment-friendly electric vehicle (EV): Toyota i-Road is powered by an electric powertrain. This means that it offers a quiet ride and produces zero emissions when on the road. According to Toyota, the driving range on a single full charge is approximately 50 kilometers, which is not bad at all.

TP Friends, as you all know, I'm a fan of innovative products - especially those that are small yet pack a lot of cool and useful features like the smartphones I review on the site. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing Toyota i-Road in the flesh and to drive it around. It's clearly the future and I want to be one of the first to take it around for a spin! Thumbs up, Toyota! Let me know what you think about this cool vehicle via our comments section.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Toyota. The opinions and text are all mine.

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