Toyota i-Road

Toyota is adding its funky, "active leaning" i-Road electric concept vehicle to its rather utopian people-moving experiment in Toyota City that combines personal and public transportation sources. Announced last year, Toyota's "Ha:mo" (short for "harmonious mobility") urban transportation trial lets people get through town using a combination of shared electric vehicles and other transportation sources. Traffic-routing technology and smartphone communication are all part of the futuristic effort.

Toyota had already been using 10 of its COMS personal-mobility vehicles in the program, and is boosting that number to 100. The automaker is also increasing the number of vehicle-parking centers in the system to 17 from four.

Toyota first showed off the i-Road Concept at the Geneva Motor Show earlier this year. The five-horsepower EV, which can go up to 30 miles on a single charge and is less than three feet wide, positions the driver and passenger in tandem positions and is notable for its "Active Lean" self-balancing technology. You can see it in action in this rather lyrical video of a quartet of i-Roads cruising and "actively leaning" through a seaside town. Check out Toyota's press release below.
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TOYOTA i-ROAD TO JOIN JAPANESE URBAN TRANSPORT SYSTEM TRIALS

i-Road joins "Ha:mo" urban transport system in Toyota City

Toyota has announced the introduction of the i-Road personal mobility concept to the "Ha:mo" urban transport system trials. The concept, which made its world debut at 2012 Geneva motor show, will be used alongside existing Toyota COMS personal mobility vehicles from early 2014.

"Ha:mo" is an urban transport system designed to combine all forms of public and private transport with the aim of improving traffic flow and minimising emissions. The system uses electric vehicle car sharing and traffic routing information to ensure the most appropriate form of transportation is used by travellers.

The introduction of Toyota's i-Road concept is just one action in the expansion of the "Ha:mo" system:

1. Increase in size of electric vehicle fleet

Number of COMS electric vehicles increased from 10 to 100 in October. All COMS vehicles will be fitted with keyless operation.
Number of Yamaha PAS power-assisted bicycles increased from 10 to 100 in October.

2. Introduction of "Ha:mo" smartphone application

The new "Ha:mo" application will have a range of features including:
Suggestion of new route options based upon traffic flow and local vehicle station stocking levels
Reservation of vehicles
Access to local bus timetables
'Push' notifications of predicted traffic congestion and weekly traffic congestion forecasts that encourage the use of different roads and transportation methods

3. Increase in number of vehicle stations

Users will be able to rent and return vehicles at 17 new locations from October, an increase from the four currently in operation. These stations will be conveniently located near main train stations and major public facilities.
4. Trials of Fee-based Sharing Service

From October 1, a fee system will be introduced to the commercial feasibility of the sharing service. Fees will start at 200 yen (around £1.30) for the first 10 minutes and 20 yen (around £0.13) per minute thereafter.
5. Increase in number of Ha:mo members

"Ha:mo" membership is projected to rise from 100 to 1,000 in October, improving the level of data being received from the trial.