TOYOTA i-ROAD and the Future of Smart Mobility

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I spend my time mostly in two states Arizona and California and there are vast differences in the driving situations.  In Arizona everything is spread out more, there is more space generally and less cars cluttering the road though you wouldn’t think so during rush hour downtown.  But then when I am in the San Diego county area and you are stuck in one hour traffic on the I-5 between LA and San Diego you know that the traffic life here is much worse than anywhere else.  Even more so the limited parking anywhere up and down the 101 mean that only really compact vehicles area an ideal fit for a city area that is already focused on energy efficiency, going green and being eco friendly.

To address the ever frustrating transport and parking problem in crowded cities and regions, Toyota did a demonstration of it’s new i-ROAD EV which is something like I have never seen before.

The i-ROAD is a three wheeled EV that is designed to be extremely ECO friendly while also providing rapid and convenient transport, parking in a crowded urban area.  It has a unique turning and adaptive response system which allows it to hug corners and have exceptional response navigating the roads and makes for being able to parallel park in the smallest of spaces.

Now I love technology and believe the future in vehicles lies in what is being labeled Smart Mobility, these are vehicles that not only will monitor the drivers and be able to adapt to changes in driver health patterns (sleepy, distress, panic) but also cars that detect proximity, health and status of cars around them.  This is already just starting to be mainstream and cars will automatically know the proximity of cars around them and be able to make minor corrections, automatic braking, warning and more.

I personally would never ride a motorcycle, have no interest in them and consider them too dangerous not because you are driving them but because of everything else on the road with you.  The Toyota i-Road however having 3 wheels and the system that it does appears much safer and you don’t have the worry about falling over.  It is definitely lean, small and compact and not designed to travel with passengers.  This is the vehicle for someone who simply needs a quick transport to and from a location and lives in an extremely crowded area.  I see this being a great EV for really urban cities where you never really are going to get to 60mph or higher.  I see so many Hybrids, EV’s and smaller and smaller vehicles coming to California though Arizona still has far more trucks and SUV’s and adoption of this new line of extremely small, efficient vehicles is slower here in the U.S. than in Europe and Japan.

I encourage readers to see and learn more about the Toyota i-Road which has some amazing technology in it, you can also drill down and see some other upcoming and new technology from Toyota and in particular the idea of a vehicle that not only charges at your home, but helps charge your home and offset some power costs was very interesting to me read more here: 

http://www.toyota-global.com/innovation/smart_mobility_society/news_and_events/t_i-road/

What do you think, do you see something like the Toyota i-ROAD coming to the states and becoming mainstream, or will it remain niche for more European and urban cities around the world?

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Toyota. The opinions and text are all mine.

Updated: March 6, 2014 — 2:44 am