Toyota i-Road electric one-seater brilliant in the turns

Behind the wheel of the Toyota i-Road, it felt graceful. It leaned smoothly over through one turn, then fluidly rolled over to the other side for an ensuing opposite turn, driving through a cone course Toyota had set up in a parking lot in San Jose.
This little electric…thing rides on three wheels, two in the front and one at the rear. When turning the steering wheel while driving above 5 mph, the front suspension pushed down the outside wheel and retracted the inside wheel, making the whole conveyance lean through the turns.
i-Road uses a gyroscope and inertial sensors, combined with data on speed and steering angle, to determine how far to lean the i-Road. The steering is actually done through the single rear wheel. At low speeds the i-Road felt exceptionally nimble, like a shopping cart on well-oiled wheels, as the back end slid out in response to the steering input. With the accelerator floored, it limited how sharply it could turn, and also vibrated the steering wheel tolet the driver know they were at the i-Road’s limits.
Where the rear wheel steers, the front wheels are powered, each using an electric motor of about 2 kilowatts. The range and speed figures show that the i-Road isn’t intended for cross-country trips, instead set for short commutes or errands. It’s top speed of 37 mph (60 kph) classifies it as a neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV), as does its 30-mile range. Further designs could have higher ranges. However, it is perfect for a urban vehicle. It takes about 3 hours to charge from a standard household outlet. Design of the car makes it zero emission car.
Less than 3 feet wide, Toyota rates it for one passenger. However, there is a rear seat behind the driver. The front seat was reasonably comfortable, and although covered in soft plastics rather than upholstery, the cabin seemed very car-like. As a convenience, doors open on either side of the driver, adding flexibility for parking and access. The interior is quite spartan when you take into account the equipment but you will still get a MP3 player, a digital instrument cluster but no air conditioning. The front and rear visibility are great thanks to a massive window area while the ventilation of the passengers is made with the help of front and rear mounted vents that won’t let the rain in but it will let the air circulate throughout the car.
Toyota does not currently sell the i-Road, and what was driven was a prototype. You would expect that for such a futuristic car there would be a massive price tag. Well, you’d be wrong because this new model is set to cost around $10,000 for a fully equipped model.
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briservToyota i-Road electric one-seater brilliant in the turns