20 October 2016
Is it a car? Is it a motorcycle? It's the Toyota i-Road. Photo: Reuters
Is it a car? Is it a motorcycle? It's the Toyota i-Road. Photo: Reuters

Toyota to try out electric three-wheeler in Tokyo

Residents of Tokyo will get a chance to zip around town on Toyota Motor Corp.’s three-wheeled electric car-motorbike from Friday, Reuters reported.

The six-month experiment by the world’s top-selling carmaker aims to create a global business model for reducing gridlock and pollution.

Toyota will partner Park24 Co. Ltd., the operator of a Japanese car-sharing service, in leasing the i-Road concept vehicle.

The goal is to set up a green car-sharing business like Daimler AG’s car2go service.

The tiny 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.

“Our concept was to offer something that’s both fun and convenient for city driving,” the report quoted i-Road chief engineer Akihiro Yanaka as saying.

Daimler’s car2go has more than a million members in 30 European and North American cities.

They use a mobile app to reserve the tiny Smart Fortwo car, many of which are zero-emission.

Drivers pay by the minute and can drop the car off at various spots around town.

“Data shows that about 70 percent of cars in big cities are occupied by one person, with most traveling less than 10 kilometers,” Toshiya Hayata, group manager of Toyota’s Smart Community department, was quoted as saying.

“That means the mode of transportation doesn’t have to be a car.”

Yanaka said: “But Daimler doesn’t have anything smaller than the Smart. If we can make it work, the i-Road could have an advantage.”

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