Toyota i-Road Leaning Electric Reverse Trike Concept

Toyota i-Road leaning electric reverse trike concept

Toyota i-Road leaning electric reverse trike concept

We've seen a number of leaning 3 wheelers on The Kneeslider, the factory rides like the Piaggio MP3, the now defunct Carver and the never produced Harley Davidson Penster along with home engineered examples like Jim Harrell's Harley TRT. But if Toyota decides to jump into the leaning 3 wheeler market, we may see a whole fleet of these little pod like trikes cruising through urban areas where the trendy riders congregate.

Toyota i-Road leaning electric reverse trike concept

Toyota i-Road is fully enclosed

Toyota unveiled their electric i-Road concept for the Geneva International Motor Show. It's a 2 seater and encloses the riders while rushing down the road at 28 mph to their destination that needs to be somewhere short of 31 miles or they'll be stopping to stretch their legs waiting for a recharge.

Toyota i-Road leaning electric reverse trike concept

Toyota i-Road leaning electric reverse trike concept

Its selling points are quiet zero emission travel in a tiny easy to park package, but with the limited speed and range it's going to be a rather limited market as well.

This looks like another indication that manufacturers are examining the whole personal mobility sector and not just cars, trucks or motorcycles where they may have focused before. Well, it's a start.

Link: Toyota via Wired

Video below:


  1. MikeGyver says

    Top speed of 28mph and max range of 31 miles? Doesn’t sound like they are trying very hard.

    • Paul Crowe says

      It almost looks like some sort of last mile solution for extremely congested areas or perhaps something for local security patrols instead of a Segway.

      • SausageCreature says

        I’m still not seeing it…

        For “extremely congested” areas, this still has a much larger footprint than a bicycle or 50cc scooter, and you’ll still be forced to have a place to park it (a bicycle or segway could be brought up to your apartment/office).

        And I don’t think security patrols would favor this over a Segway or T3 Motion. For all their limitations, at least you have a wider and higher field of vision on those, and you can quickly jump off and pursue on foot (rough terrain, stairs, anything other than pavement, really). What would happen with a security/police officer in an iRoad? A bad guy would probably just push it over on its side…wackiness ensues.

  2. Doug McDaniel says

    2 questions. How much do they anticipate charging for these and how much does it weigh?

  3. blackbird says

    Zero emissions?
    Another currently popular phrase apparently used to dupe the witless multitude.
    Sorry, I know you just repeated it and don’t really believe it.

    • Ian says

      Zero emissions at point of use. The sources of electricity are completely interchangeable. If every vehicle were electric, and you replaced a coal plant with a wind farm or tidal plant or whatever, you’ve effectively lowered the emissions of the entire vehicle fleet.

      • Andrew says

        Whats the point of having zero emissions at point of use if the technology used to produce the energy for the vehicle is still dirtier than simply burning gasoline or diesel? If you are getting you electricity from a coal burning power plant then you are still polluting by using that electricity.

  4. sfan says

    Well, as a thought experiment, if Toyota hooked up with their partner Yamaha and gave it a simple parallel hybrid scooter engine, I could see this possibly finding a niche, if it was reasonably priced. The design target should be ~100 kph max speed and range limited by gas tank size. Money for the ICE engine could be saved on a smaller battery. Yamaha’s BW 125cc scooter is CDN$2900 and the 400cc Majesty scooter is $7500. Depending on the iRoad’s capabilities I see room for it in the $5-6K range.

    • notarenaultfan says

      Funny, that’s the price of a Renault twizy (7K€… + 50€/month for battery!) which looks exactly the same but with 4 wheels.

      • sfan says

        Yes, I wasn’t aware the Twizy was any more than a concept but I see that commercial sales began last spring in Europe with >9000 units by year end ( I agree with you about the design similarities and am sure that the iRoad is inspired by and intended to compete with the Twizy. The 5hp version has a top speed of 28mph and the 17hp version reaches 50mph. Range is up to 100km/60 miles. Like Renault (, I think this class of vehicle is well suited to the urban car sharing market.

        I see that while the Twizy has 4 wheels it is classified as a “heavy quadracycle” which means it is licensed like a motorized tricycle.

        The Twizy is however considerably more expensive than my suggestion above, 7K€ converts to about CDN$9400.

  5. Yeti2bikes says

    If they would look to some sort of fuel cell to power these electrics instead of batteries they might have something. Until they can get some range on these vehicles so they’re not so much of a niche item they will never see a large market share. Here in Phoenix they are finding the electrics get even less range. In fact, Nissan is no longer selling the Leaf in the Arizona market as there is a class action suit against them as most of the vehicles sold here get less than half the estimated range due to heat on the battery packs.

    As it is I go through motorcycle batteries about every 12 months even with a battery tender on them when parked.

  6. '37 Indian says

    This thing looks cool! Ok, it (at least currently) doesn’ go very fast or very far, but it looks like they’ve got the leaning suspension figured out. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of these shows up in the next Bond movie with a Turbo’d Hayabusa motor. Like other vehicles on the Kneeslider, I may not be in the market to buy one, but I sure would like to ride it.

  7. Renegade_Azzy says

    I thought they would actually show one, not a rendering. Boo.

    And electric? Why not small displacement ICE or oil burner? Maybe in japan where they have a lot of nuke plants, but not here in the US.

  8. GenWaylaid says

    If Toyota was going to produce this (which is not clear at this point), they’d most likely be competing with the Renault Twizy, or trying to split the difference between quadricycles like the Twizy and large scooters. They’ll need far more speed and range to make the iRoad a viable competitor even in that limited market.

  9. DMH says

    A concept only partially thought through but not a bad starting point.

    The concept joins the ranks of Personal Vehicles but probably has not added a lot to the total design/implementation knowledge of the sector.

    It may be easy to park, but then try opening up those really long doors to climb out. It makes a mockery of the compact parking idea when you cannot stack them much closer than current small cars.

    I do like the front pivoting wheels and think that is an interesting take on the front-trike philosophy that may get some useful development.

    I tend to agree that the engine is not developed enough for this style of vehicle and that a compact ICE power plant would be a great way to introduce the vehicle and move it into the market until the alternative power plants are up to speed.

  10. Hawk says

    Go for it Toyota. No mind for encroaching on patent right of Apple (iRoad) or on the intellectual property rights that Harley stole from Carver …. and never used (Remember Eric Buell) ….. When they take my car away and tell me I can have an electric scooter …. I want leaning suspension.

    I guess 28 mph is fast enough in the local shopping mall.

  11. says

    I saw a Renault Twizzy on the way to work this morning (in Southern England)….
    Did he look a twizz or wot?

    Sorry Toyota and Renault you’re not there yet.. and the wife would say where does the shopping and the kids go?

  12. 7R Pete says

    I agree that it is a start and that I too would like to see more speed, range and a more compact door design, but I do wonder about the rear wheel steering. How difficult would it be to get used to that? Also, the centre of lateral area looks as though it might be way above the C of G allowing an easy blow-over from a side wind. (Unless Toyota have a built-in sensor that allows ‘lean in’ to the wind. Yeah, right.) Are there doors on both sides? If not, don’t get blown over onto your door side or you will never get out by yourself.

  13. says

    Anyone else notice the obvious resemblance to the 2-tone plastic Yuppie baby-strollers that they sell in the toy stores?
    It’s the new Fisher-Price stroller for “adults”.

  14. WOL says

    The rear wheel steer/drive (at least it looks like it is) should make this relatively cheap to produce. (A naked version would be a lot cheaper) It may make it a bit hard to control like a shopping trolley or riding backward…. I’d like to see how Toyota got around the basic instability issues.

    I like the concept of reverse trikes (no foot down for those not so young) extra braking and contact patch etc… these should be really light as well. No doubt they will go faster and further with time.

    I have been riding for years without a car as a secondary means of transport. I have just bought a small car however. Getting caught in the rain is one thing but getting on your plastic suit and leaving a perfectly dry home is another. I am not so challenged that I would not get around in one of these things…

  15. Wave says

    You will note that it looks like Toyota has followed the Renault Twizy’s lead in not being fully enclosed. By leaving the car open to the elements, you avoid the requirement for a demister, heating, air conditioning and a whole bunch of other things which add weight and suck huge amounts of battery power. However, if you’re going to be driving a tiny car with no windows, then you may as well be on a motorcycle! You can get plastic weather shields for the Twizy, but that’s really not the same as proper windows. It’s like going back in time to the leaky British sports cars of the 1950s and 60s!

    • Wave says

      Nothing was wrong with them 60 years ago, but you couldn’t build them again now. However, there’s no reason why you couldn’t make a proper fully-enclosed, pressed steel monocoque microcar. If you’re going that far though, you may as well have something resembling a Japanese Kei car, which can seat four people and travel at highway speeds. If you’re willing to go to a combustion engine drivetrain, then there’s no real benefit in going single-seater small.

  16. Hooligan says

    31 miles range is a bit of a no no though. But for many city commuters that is adequate and acceptable. But why not have a back up system of a large elastic band you wind up like model areoplanes used to have? Would work in an emergency.
    (He said with tongue in cheek)

    • Hooligan says

      I think also the embarresment of being creamed by 50cc scooters will be a disincentive. And you will not be able to filter through the city traffic as the two wheelers do. However at the moment I see lots of people on the tilting 3 wheeler Piaggio thingies.

  17. Brian Kelly says

    Forget the electric motor add the Yamaha 500cc twin motor (t-max) keep the mass close to the ground to keep the centre of gravity low, the doors should rotate forward and up (Lamborghini style) this will enhance the practicality of using this as a commuter. Both companies could use the basic design Toyota with a more car orientated design and Yamaha aimed at riders of course both should be narrow enough to lane split allowing users to save time, protect the environment and reduce congestion for all road users.