At the 2013 Geneva International Motor Show, Toyota unveiled the 2.3 metre-long i-ROAD personal mobility vehicle (PMV). It’s not a car, nor a scooter, but something in between. And it’s also powered by an electric motor, instead of a petrol engine.
The i-ROAD was there to demonstrate a new concept in personal mobility, as it sits two people in tandem, both covered, unlike on a motor bike. The lithium-ion battery powers two 2kW motors in the front wheels and has a range of 50km, meaning a trip between Pretoria and Johannesburg is possible without having to recharge, but you could not get from Durban to Pietermaritzburg. Recharging takes three hours to complete from a home wall socket.
The system also operates when the PMV is being driven in a straight line over stepped surfaces, the actuator automatically compensating for changes in the road to keep the body level. The minimum turning circle is just three metres.