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Toyota teases "compact, fun" i-Road EV ahead of Geneva Motor Show

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February 6, 2013

Toyota's intriguing i-Road concept EV

Toyota's intriguing i-Road concept EV

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An intriguing overhead image released by Toyota last Thursday suggests the motor company may unveil an unusual electric concept vehicle, dubbed i-Road, at the 83rd Geneva Motor Show in March.

Details are thin on the ground at this stage, but the press release offers one or two clues as to what we can expect. "The Toyota i-Road has been conceived as a compact, fun and emissions-free personal mobility concept, designed to offer quick and efficient urban transport for two people," it said.

What can be gleaned from this tiddiest of tidbits? Not much, except to say that "emissions free" strongly implies an electric (or, er, clockwork) vehicle. And though dimensions aren't given the tease screams "compact vehicle." Unless that's a vinyl turntable, the apparently central steering column suggests the quoted two seats will be arranged one behind the other.

It's all but impossible to tell from the single overhead image, but the i-Road appears to have a certain vintage hot rod aesthetic. Time will tell. If a teaser of a concept vehicle counts for anything, it at least illustrates that not all inner-city EVs need be satsuma shaped.

According to the same release, Toyota will also show an open-top take on its FT-86 concept. Toyota says that the concept Toyota FT-86 Open will be used to gauge public opinion, though a prototype is apparently already in development.

Toyota says that it will also seize the opportunity to unveil the Auris Touring Sports estate while its fourth-gen RAV4 SUV will make its first European motor show appearance.

We'll bring you more details of the i-Road as we hear them.

Source: Toyota

About the Author
James Holloway James lives in East London where he punctuates endless tea drinking with freelance writing and meteorological angst. Unlocking Every Extend Extra Extreme’s “Master of Extreme” achievement was the fourth proudest moment of his life.   All articles by James Holloway
6 Comments

Is the top shot to highlight the lack of solar cells? Something I would have thought would be very useful in Australia with our over supply of sun and under supply of charging stations.

Womp
6th February, 2013 @ 07:41 pm PST

Even money says it is a tandem, tilting three-wheeler. Put a Morgan badge on the front and hey-presto, its deja vu all over again.

As for it possibly being powered by clockwork, I sincerely hope not. It would be quite a spectacle watching the spring suddenly let go in an accident! "Well, Sarge, it was quite a minor accident ... Yeah, I know that there were ten fatalities and sixteen serious injuries, but that happened afterwards when the crowd gathered and suddenly this wild strip of metal went flaying around all over the place. Until then it was, as I say, quite a minor accident as accidents go."

Mel Tisdale
7th February, 2013 @ 05:12 am PST

I find the design very interesting. I look forward to reading more about it and seeing more photos on it. I like small cars (which is why I bought a Smart Fortwo [love driving it]).

BigGoofyGuy
7th February, 2013 @ 07:44 am PST

Front fenders remind me of the Nissan tilter. Do the skinny front tires indicate a rear-wheel drive? Does this have four wheels or three? Toyota had at least piqued some interest, and it will be nice to get some more information.

Bruce H. Anderson
7th February, 2013 @ 11:19 am PST

It could be pneumatic or flywheel powered but it won't be cost effective unless they give it a combustion engine.

Slowburn
7th February, 2013 @ 11:29 am PST

This is clearly a tilting three-wheeler with tandem seating. Looks like a cross between the F300 Life-Jet and the Nissan LandGlider, but with a clearly improved front suspension design, and a hint of Honda 3-RC styling. This is no vintage hotrod. There are a couple ways they could squeeze two wheels in back under that deck, but there's no advantage to doing that, so it's very unlikely. It also looks seriously overweight and therefore impractical as a real-world EV. But it's still an exciting concept and I look forward to seeing more details. Get the weight under 400kg and swap out the electric drivetrain for a 600cc motorcycle engine (that will save 200kg by itself) and we'd be talking something far more practical, affordable and interesting.

Keith Hermann
8th February, 2013 @ 02:38 am PST
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