ELECTRIC TANDEM

| 2013-03-04 | 0 Comments

Toyota’s new i-ROAD personal mobility vehicle (PMV) makes its world debut at the Geneva motor show, a new, flexible form of transport designed for city streets.

TOYOTA_iROAD_01Toyota is paving the way for several types of eco car to co-exist in the future, by adapting its Hybrid Synergy Drive technology for use in plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs), electric vehicles (EVs) and fuel cell vehicles (FCVs). While hybrids, plug-in hybrids and FCVs are ideal for mainstream use over medium to long distances, Toyota believes in the feasibility of EVs to serve as a main mode of transport for short urban journeys, and has 10 years’ experience in the research and development of PMVs.

TOYOTA_iROAD_03The ultra-compact, three-wheel i-ROAD measures 2,350 mm long and 1,445 mm high and has a 1,700 mm wheelbase. It’s most significant dimension, though, is its width: at only 850 mm, it is no wider than a conventional two-wheeler. Not only does this make for easy manoeuvring through congested traffic, it also means four can be parked in a single parking bay.

TOYOTA_iROAD_04The zero-emissions, all-electric powertrain uses a lithium-ion battery to power two 2 kW motors mounted in the front wheels, giving brisk acceleration and near-silent running. Driving range is around 30 miles (50 km), after which the battery can be fully recharged from a conventional domestic power supply in three hours.

TOYOTA_iROAD_05Toyota’s new and entirely intuitive Active Lean technology is the key to i-ROAD’s high levels of stability, safety, comfort and fun-to-drive character. The system uses a lean actuator and gearing mounted above the front suspension member, linked via a yoke to the left and right front wheels. An ECU calculates the required degree of lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information, with the system automatically moving the wheels up and down in opposite directions, applying lean angle to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering. The system also operates when the PMV is being driven in a straight line over stepped surfaces, the actuator automatically compensating for changes in the road to keep the body level. The minimum turning circle is just three meters.

TOYOTA_iROAD_06No special skills are needed to pilot i-ROAD; the Active Lean system offers a unique driving experience with the enjoyment of riding a two-wheeler, but with no need for the driver to stabilise the vehicle when manoeuvring at low speed, or when stationary.

TOYOTA_iROAD_07As the driver doesn’t have to put his or her feet on the road surface at any time, i-ROAD can be fitted with a safer, weatherproof, closed body and so can be driven without wearing a helmet. This design also allows for a more car-like environment on board, with the potential for features such as lighting, heating, audio and Bluetooth to be provided.

TOYOTA_iROAD_02The new Toyota PMV’s compact size, manoeuvrability, easy parking, rapid charging and choice of an open or closed cabin make it an ideal urban vehicle.

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Category: ELECTRIC CARS, NEWS