Toyota i-Road

The lucky citizens of Japan are getting it now, and some folks in France will join the fray later this year, but that's about it for public, leaning-trike fun. The car in question is Toyota's three-wheeled i-Road concept electric vehicle. And in addition to being really narrow and quite environmentally friendly, this little EV leans quite a bit when it scoots around curves.

Earlier this week, the Japanese automaker started testing the super-narrow vehicles in Toyota City, Japan. They're part of a broader scheme called "Ha:mo" in which people can link shared vehicles with public transportation systems to get around with minimal environmental impact. Grenoble, France, will be the recipient of some i-Road EVs for a vehicle-sharing project that starts later this year. The i-Road weigh about 660 pounds, is less than a yard wide and has a 28 mile per hour top speed.

The i-Road was first shown off at the Geneva Motor Show early last year and shortly thereafter was the subject of a groovy video that showed a group of four cruising and leaning through the streets of a Mediterranean village in France. Check out Toyota's video on the vehicle-testing program and the official press release below and read our driving impressions here.
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Changing Mobility and Lives, Three Wheels at a Time

Residents of Toyota City, Japan, might be wondering what they just saw on the street. If it had three wheels and was leaning around a corner, it was the "i-Road", Toyota's ultra-compact all-electric, all-fun concept.

On Sunday, the i-Road, which weighs a mere 300 kg and is less than 90 cm wide, was let loose on public roads at an event to mark its introduction into "Ha:mo", Toyota's optimized urban transport system. Soon, even more i-Roads will be zooming around Toyota city when they are made available to residents at vehicle-sharing stations. And later this year the lucky residents of Grenoble, France, will also be able to have some three-wheeled fun, thanks to a vehicle-sharing project that will last until 2017.

Besides being an absolute blast to drive, how could the i-Road actually help you out? Well, picture the following:

You just got off work. You get a phone call. You need to get across town, pronto, because your wife just went into labor. But your car is in the shop, there's no time to call a taxi, and your co-workers with cars are stuck doing overtime. Oh, and it's raining.

What do you do?

In comes the i-Road to save the day. Luckily, there's a Toyota EV-sharing station by your office. Cool as a cucumber, you use your smartphone to plan your route: i-Road to the station 5 km away, and train straight to the hospital. You book the i-Road, and within a couple minutes you're weaving smoothly through the rush-hour gridlock. You get to the train station right on time, and, since the i-Road has a closed canopy, you didn't even wet your carefully groomed hair. Day saved, all thanks to the i-Road.