The Toyota i-Road concept is set to debut at the Geneva Motor Show tomorrow, but they’ve already released images ahead of the vehicle’s world premiere. This electric three-wheeler gets 31 miles per charge, has a top speed of 28mph, and is intended to be a cost-effective means of transportation for those living in urban areas.
Beyond it’s decidedly funky appearance, it’s got some pretty funky technology in the “Active Lean” system which is designed to balance the Toyota i-Road automatically as you go around corners or manage rougher roadways. This means that anyone can get in the vehicle and go without any special instructions about how to keep it from tipping over.
Active Lean works through a lean actuator and gearing mounted above the front suspension that is then linked to the left and right front wheels. A computer then figures out how far the vehicle needs to lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and speed information.
You can see in the images how the system then moves the wheels up or down to get just the right angle while cornering. It does the same thing on rough surfaces to account for bumps and dips in the pavement and keeps the vehicle level at all times.
The Toyota i-Road is 7.7′ long, 4.7′ high and 2.8′ wide, and weighs just over 660 pounds. Despite its compact size, there is room for two adults to sit side-by-side. The enclosed design makes the whole thing more car-like and also means you don’t need to wear a helmet.
It looks like something from a sci-fi flick and for the moment, that’s sort of what it is since the Toyota i-Road concept doesn’t have an official production date. Toyota has, however, said that they see this type of vehicle replacing cars in urban areas in the near future.
Nicole Wakelin fell in love with cars as a teenager when she got to go for a ride in a Ferrari. It was red and it was fast and that was all that mattered. Game over. She considers things a bit more carefully now, but still has a weakness for fast, beautiful cars. When not drooling over cars, Nicole writes for Wired’s GeekMom.