Sunday, 10 March 2013


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.

According to Toyota, Active Lean technology is the key to i-ROAD’s high levels of stability, safety, comfort and fun-to-drive character. The system uses a lean actuator and gearing mounted above the front suspension member, linked via a yoke to the left and right front wheels. An ECU (electronic control unit) calculates the required degree of lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information, with the system automatically moving the wheels up and down in opposite directions, applying lean angle to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering.

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.

No comments: