Toyota i-Road hits the streets in first public trial

The ultra-compact Toyota i-Road – an electric three-wheeled “personal mobility vehicle” – has begun its first public trials to find out how it shapes up in the cut-and-thrust of real-world urban driving.

Consumer testing in Tokyo is set to run from 24 March through to early June, with 10 of the single-seater vehicles taking to the city streets.

The 20 people involved in the programme range from industry experts through to members of the general public, so that Toyota can gain a wide range of feedback on what i-Road is like to drive, how easy it is to use around town, how it affects people’s decisions about what journeys to make and driver satisfaction.

The vehicles are based on the concept versions shown at last year’s Tokyo motor show, but with adjustments to improve visibility, ease of use and manoeuvrability. Its compact, slim shape and 300kg kerb weight make i-Road as nimble to handle in traffic as a scooter, but with car-like stability thanks to its two-at-the-front-one-at-the-rear wheel configuration and a clever, Toyota-engineered leaning attitude when cornering.

More research into i-Road’s potential as a valuable addition to community-based transport networks is under way in Toyota City, where it has recently been introduced into the experimental Ha:mo low carbon urban transport project. It is also coming to Europe this year with two-seater models set to take part in a vehicle sharing programme that will operate in the French city of Grenoble over the next four years.

Read more: World-first drive of the Toyota i-Road electric concept

 By Iain Reid


  1. I love the look of this i-road, I can see it doing well in city traffic, but not sure for the ordinary towns.
    I think I would feel a little claustrophobic even with all the windows, is there any room in it for a couple of bags of shopping collected on way home from work.
    We didn’t see it reversing, what’s that like?
    Aside from my own thoughts, I think it’s a cute little car and the city workers will have a lot of fun driving them,
    Big companies could also benefit from these, if the offices etc are spread over a huge distance, jump in one of these instead of an ordinary car, saves time, space and money

    1. Hi Gill
      Thanks for your post about the i-Road and it is great to receive your comments and feedback.
      There are two seats in tandem so it would be possible to put the shopping bags in the rear for example. We will be sure to post details about i-road reversing as soon as we have them but training will be provided for those using for the first time as it has rear wheel steering. We see i-Road meeting the needs of urban users who want to travel around cities quickly, easily and with zero emissions.

  2. Living in Milton Keynes, which is well set-up for electric car users, I can really see the benefit of this. I’m interested in what the licencing requirements would be for one of these? Does it come under the same class as a car, or is it classed as a motorbike etc?

    Would be interested to see if this would be a viable replacement for our traditional runaround which always seems like a waste given the short journeys it’s usually used for.

    1. Hi Matt
      Thanks for your post and good to see your interest in the i-Road.
      In terms of classification we do not anticipate that this will be classed as a motorbike which means no license would be required. At the moment i-Road has just commenced trials in Japan (this will also be followed up by trial in France later this year) the purpose of which is to gain real world data on usage patterns which will help shape the final product specification. We see i-Road as an urban commuter vehicle being used for short city journeys. We do plan to continue to cover i-Road stories on our Blog about how these trials progress and will make sure we publish the latest news.
      Hope this helps.

      1. As a wheelchair user who drives but used to ride bikes would this have room at the back for my manual chair and does it act more like a bike than a car ? Thanks

      2. Hi Craig, thanks for your comment.

        The i-Road is currently not available here in the UK and is still in trial stages, so we have no further information to offer at this time. Keep an eye on our social media channels for any future model updates.


  3. CURIOUS In the British winter, is there any heating in it, and how would this effect battery life

    1. Hello Michael
      Thanks for your post and for your interest in the i-Road.
      i-Road will be designed to have heating and the purpose of the trials taking place in Japan and France will be to gain real world data which will help to answer the question you have raised above. We see i-Road for short journey urban commuter use being fun to drive and as an emission free personal mobility concept.
      Hope this helps.

    1. Hi Shibu
      Thanks for your post and for your interest in the Toyota i-Road.
      At the moment the trial in Grenoble is expected to last up to three years as the data from this trial will be used to help understand usage patterns and final specification details of the i-Road. There are no immediate plans to bring the i-Road to the UK unfortunately while these trials are on-going. We do appreciate your interest though and we will be sure to post the latest news and developments on our Blog so do stay tuned.

  4. I would dearly love to own an i.road, are there any plans to put them on the UK market – if so – WHEN?

    1. Hi George,
      Thanks for your comment.
      We don’t currently have any plans to share regarding this, but keep an eye on our blog and socials for the latest news.

  5. The i road looks like an excellent alternative to the ecisting mobility scooters available in the uk at the moment , espeacially if you could extend the mileage per charge .

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