Tokyo, Japan - Tokyoites will get a chance to zip around town in Toyota's three-wheeled electric car/motorcycle from Friday, in a trial aimed at crafting a global business model to reduce gridlock and pollution.
Toyota has teamed up with Japanese car-sharing service operator Park24 for a six-month experiment leasing the i-Road concept vehicle, with a view to setting up a green car-sharing business akin to Daimler’s car2go service.
The pint-sized i-Road has two front wheels that move up and down independently of each other, allowing it to lean like a motorcycle but retain the stability of a car. Toyota has not yet decided whether to mass-produce it.
Chief engineer for the i-Road project Akihiro Yanaka explained: “Our concept was to offer something that's both fun and convenient for city driving.”
Devising smarter ways to get around - known in the industry as “smart mobility” - looks set to become a new battleground for automakers as urbanisation grows, pollution worsens, and more cars clog up cities in emerging markets.