March 13 - Toyota's new i-Road three-wheel electric personal mobility vehicle is making its debut at the 2013 Geneva Car Show. The company says the vehicle is no wider than its two-seater competition and its Active Lean Technology helps the vehicle lean into bends in the style of a motorbike. Jim Drury has more.
It may be going round in circles but, according to Toyota, the new i-ROAD two-seater shows the company remains on track for success. Unveiled at the Geneva Car Show, Toyota says its electric three-wheeler is the same width as conventional two-wheeled motorbikes. The i-ROAD's most striking feature is its Active Lean technology, designed to help it lean into bends like a motorbike. Media spokesman Simon Widmer says the vehicle has other attractive facets. SOUNDBITE (French) SIMON WIDMER, TOYOTA CHIEF OF MEDIA DEPARTMENT SAYING: "It is special because it has three wheels, one in the back and two in the front of the car. So it gives the driver the opportunity to make a very tight turn. This is very useful in town and this system also stabilises the car. The car has a roof to enhance security and a turning radius of just three metres." Lithium-ion batteries power a pair of 2 kilowatt electric motors mounted in the front wheels. Toyota says these offer "brisk acceleration and near-silent running." With a range of 50 kilometres, the i-ROAD's designed for city driving. It can be recharged from a normal household plug in three hours. There are no concrete production plans yet, but field trials are planned in the French city of Grenoble. The i-ROAD is the latest on a long list of electric and hybrid vehicles on display in Geneva, where they hope to empower the next generation of drivers.