An Affordable Three-Wheeled Electric Vehicle for the Average Commuter
A few days ago, Toyota showcased the new i-Rodeo, a three-wheeled electric vehicle, which features the new concept of urban mobility. The vehicle possesses the potential of both cars and motorbikes. Considering the future of urban transport, the manufacturers have worked to make sure next generation performance with respect to driving, size and environmental performance.
The i-Rodeo has a total length of 2,345 mm and a width of 870 mm. It has a height of 1,455 mm with its wheel base being 1,695 mm. Its maximum speed varies; in Japan its 60 kilometer per hour while in Europe is 45 kilometre per hour in accordance to European regulations for vehicles in the Toyota i-Rodeo category. Without occupants or cargo, it weighs 300 kilograms. In addition, its cruising range on a single charge is 50 km target distance when traveling at a fixed speed of 30 km/h. According to European regulations, the vehicle should have only one occupant in Japan and 2 in Europe.
Drivers report that the vehicle is very pleasurable to drive. The left and right wheels move up and down on their own contemporized in response to the driver’s steering. What’s more is that the vehicle automatically selects the most desirable lean angle when taking a corner. Driving the Toyota i-Rodeo is just like skiing, the more you drive, the better it becomes.
Its ultra-compact size makes urban roads feel wider. Since it is 870 mm wide, it enables easy handling in confined spaces. It can move without using the whole lane on crowded city roads. Besides, it is also space-efficient since it only requires a parking space of half that of a common car.
The vehicle is as easy to use as a motorbike but without any fear of getting rained on hence no need to wear a helmet. What is amazing is that the vehicle maintains balance on its own not only on slopes and curves but also on uneven grounds. This confirms that anyone can drive the Toyota i-Road with safety and comfort. With no carbon dioxide emissions, the vehicle is environmental friendly. Its environment-friendly feature is enhanced by lithium-ion batteries that run 50 kilometers on one charge.
For a practical and fun use of the vehicle, Toyota is set to launch an open road project from July this year with specialist companies and public members. However, there are no specific plans made for the US Toyota i-Rodeo demonstration programs. Through feedback, the company aims at studying better ways to develop product and services that will build on the key strengths of the Toyota i-Rodeo.
Gordon's expertise in the area of industrial energy efficiency and alternative energy. He is an experienced electrical engineer with a Masters degree in Alternative Energy technology. He is the co-founder of several renewable energy media sites including Solar Thermal Magazine.