Toyota trials ultra-compact electric vehicles

September 15, 2014 | By | In News

Toyota is providing 70 small electric vehicles to be tested out in an urban mobility project in France. This pilot programme will see two types of compact zero-emission machine located at 27 different locations around the city of Grenoble as part of a new low-carbon car-sharing scheme.

Users can pick up one of the vehicles, drive to their destination and leave the vehicle at any of the charging points for other customers to pick up. The scheme, named Cit? lib by Ha:Mo (harmonious mobility) will be launched on October 1 and follows a successful similar trial in Toyota City, Japan, where the car giant’s headquarters is located.

The three-year trial will see 35 three-wheel Toyota i-Roads and a further 35 four-wheel COMS electric vehicles take to the streets of Grenoble for public car-sharing trips around the city. From the start of October anyone aged 18 or over with a valid driving licence can register with with Cit? lib for access to the vehicles. Once subscribed they can download an app for their smartphone, tablet or computer to see the real-time location of vehicles that are charged and ready to use.

Users are free to pick up a car and drop it off at any of the other 27 charging stations available around Grenoble. Organisers plan for this scheme to integrate into the public transport service in the area, with customers able to drive one of the vehicles to a transport hub and continue their journey using public transport – or vice versa.

Urban mobility solutions will be a key growth area for Toyota in the future. We are very excited to be working alongside the people of Grenoble in solving urban traffic problems.

The vehicles being used for the trial are both barely larger than a motorbike, but give full protection from the elements. The i-ROAD also leans around corners like a skier – for an experience more akin to riding a motorbike than driving a car.

Takeshi Uchiyamada, chairman of Toyota Motor Corporation, said: “This project came to fruition because all of its partners have the same aspiration — to be a part of creating a future urban mobility.

“Urban mobility solutions will be a key growth area for Toyota in the future. We are very excited to be working alongside the people of Grenoble in solving urban traffic problems.”

The Cit? lib trial has been supported by the Grenoble local authorities, French power supplier EDF SODETREL, an EDF subsidiary that installs and maintains electric car charging points and local car share operator Cit? lib.

Picture: Toyota

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