A radical but intriguing vision for a personal mobility vehicle (PMV) of tomorrow, the Toyota i-Road Concept makes its first public appearance in Geneva. The automaker is presenting this distinctive zero-emissions 3-wheeler as a cleaner, quieter, safer and more comfortable alternative to a conventional scooter or motorcycle. Featuring tandem seating for two, the i-Road features a 2.7-horsepower electric motor in each front wheel which Toyota claims is sufficient to give its diminutive -- just 92.5-inches long and 33.5 inches wide -- PMV "brisk" acceleration. A lithium-ion battery pack holds sufficient energy to let the i-Road Concept travel about 30 miles on a single charge and can be fully replenished in about three hours using a conventional 240V outlet.

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Arguably the most innovative feature of the Toyota i-Road Concept is its "Active Lean" technology. Developed by Toyota, this computer-controlled vehicle dynamics system incorporates a lean actuator and supplemental gearing elements into the i-Road's steering and suspension. When the steering wheel is turned, the system automatically responds by moving each road wheel up or down to apply a proper lean angle that effectively counteracts the centrifugal forces generated during cornering. It relies on a combination of steering angle, a gyro-sensor and vehicle speed to make that calculation and information and even functions when the i-Road is negotiating uneven road surfaces in a straight line. In addition to enhancing its overall stability, the Active Lean package also ensures the i-Road Concept is extremely maneuverable, giving it a tidy 9.8-foot turning circle.

While Toyota currently has no firm plans to produce the i-Road, it believes this innovative concept "has the potential to play a significant role in reducing urban traffic congestion and air pollution."

 

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