With trikes steadily gaining in popularity in the world market, its not surprising to hear rumors of yet another company exploring the possibility of entering the trike business, but when auto industry giant Toyota confirmed production of a two passenger, tilting trike, well that's newsworthy.
Toyota's new entry, the i-Road is an electric powered vehicle that will be produced at least initially for the Japanese market as a commuter vehicle aimed at expansion of Japan's Ha:mo car sharing service, which has been operating in Japan since October 2012. Toyota envisions the Ha:mo project as a prototype for a future urban transportation system that seamlessly integrates personal vehicles and public transit.
Weighing in at just 661 pounds, the i-Road uses a computer controlled “Active Lean” suspension system to lean into corners, similar to the now defunct Carver One which was designed and manufactured in the Netherlands in 2007 and 2008. Toyota's system features a lean actuator motor and gearing mounted above the front suspension member, linked via a yoke to the right and left front wheels. An ECU calculates the required lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information and the system automatically moves the wheels up and down in opposite directions, applying lean angle to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering. Top speed will be around 30 MPH with a range of approximately 31
miles on a single charge so this is definitely a short rage commuter vehicle, not a touring machine.