Toyota To Launch Pilot i-Road EV Share in Tokyo
Toyota will partner in a six-month trial with Japan's leading carshare operator, Park24 Co. Ltd. to trial the use of its three-wheeled, all-electric iRoad narrow car. According to Reuters, the goal is to develop a business model to "reduce gridlock and pollution."
Toyota first debuted the i-Road, which leans automatically into turns for stablity, at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show. With its 2.7 hp (2kW) electric motor, powered by a lithium-ion battery, the i-Road has a top speed of 45 km/h in order to comply with European quadracycle regulations, meaning that a license is not required to drive it. Range is estimated at 50 km (31 mi.) with recharge time said to be 3.5 hours. A 60 km/h model will be available for other international markets.
The Tokyo pilot, which runs from April to the end of September, is not the first for the electric i-Road. A similar program with 70 i-Roads is being trialed in Grenoble, France. The concept is to have vehicles available for people to use as needed much in the way that bikeshare systems work, only giving users greater wet weather protection and speed.
Toyota explains the "...focus [is] on one-way transportation to commercial facilities and sightseeing locations, users will pick up vehicles from the Times Station at Yurakucho ITOCiA and later return them to any of five locations: Tokyo Tower, Asakusa, Odaiba Palette Town, Tokyo Dome City or Yurakucho ITOCiA."
People wanting to use the service can sign up online and are required to take a compulsory training course. The cost to use the vehicles is 412 yen ($3.14USD) per unit of 15 minutes, with a maximum usage period of two and a half hours.
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