Geneva Motor Show Concept of the Day #1: Toyota i-ROAD
March 4, 2013 § 1 Comment
Toyota’s i-ROAD is described as a “personal mobility vehicle” and is a semi-scooter three-wheeler, two-seater EV with an enclosed cabin. It’s just 850mm wide, has ‘active lean’ gyroscopic balancing tech, and has a range of up to 30 miles; it’s said to be comfier, safer and offering better weather protection than a scooter, but giving similarly low running costs, easy parking and around-town manoeuvrability (turning circle 3m). No helmet required. It’s powered by two 2kW motors in the front wheels. A clear statement from Toyota reads: “While hybrids, plug-in hybrids and FVCs (fuel cell vehicles) are ideal for mainstream use over medium to long distances, Toyota believes in the feasibility of EVs to serve as a main mode of transport for short urban journeys”, and the company suggests a system whereby “commuters can use public transport or conventional private vehicles to travel to urban perimeter transportation hubs where they will transfer to the Toyota i-ROAD to complete their journeys into the city centre.”
- BMW is showing the i3 Concept Coupe and i8 Concept Spyder in Geneva, and has flagged up some key findings from the original 12.5million-mile Mini E/ActiveE trail. Distances covered by these EVs “showed very little difference from the distances covered by conventional cars”, averaging just over 25 miles a day; the pilot customers charged two to three times a week on average, mostly at their homes and workplaces; though at the start of the trial over 70% said that access to public charging facilities was important, in practice, public infrastructure was used less than 10% of the time. More detail on the i3”s connectivity: its 80-100 mile range can be optimised via the ConnectedDrive services, which include net-based real-time navigation and dynamic range calculation, taking into account traffic conditions and route topgraphy, plus advice on which of the three driving modes are recommended to conserve range, nearby charging stations and plug reservations, and charging times. BMW has also confirmed the availability of an optional range-extender engine, putting total range up to 186 miles, plus “additional mobility modules” enabling the borrowing of a conventional ICE vehicle from BMW i on “a given number of days per year”.
- Kia Provo concept: dodgy name (does it bomb Brighton hotels?) but interesting powertrain solution. This low-slung supermini-sized 2+2 hatch has a turbocharged petrol engine (1.6 GDi direct-injection, 204ps) with an electric motor using energy captured by regenerative braking, giving four-wheel drive and “an additional power surge to the rear wheels when required”, plus a short low-speed electric-only ‘creep’ range. Gearbox is a seven-speed DCT.