It’s not a motorcycle anymore. Not yet a car. A miniature electric car from Toyota has been hired by a company in Europe and Japan. Does this kid have chances in Russia?
I lay a steep turn and almost touch the right glass of asphalt. My three-wheeled vehicle leans extremely low, like a motorcycle. Flop on his side? But after exiting the turn, i-Road instantly assumes its former position. Unperturbable and playful. Like a doll-tumbler. I did not even have to do anything for this. I repeat the exercise at a higher speed. About 60 km per hour. It seems to be a risky trick. Inside – a jim. In fact – no risk. A similar style of management, when the bends fly with sharp slopes, as quickly as possible, became possible thanks to the Active Lean front wheel control system. Electronics calculates the speed and angle of rotation, controls the displacement of the axles of the two front wheels up and down. As a result, it provides stability and maximum convenience.
Although the most important advantage of i-Road is in the other. Modest dimensions allow you to park “zamorysh” anywhere. Literally. After all, this three-wheeled car occupies places not much more than the average motorcycle. The length of i-Road hardly exceeds two meters, and the width is only 85 centimeters. It turns out, to stick such a micro car it will easily turn out even where the parking spaces are always occupied.
The creators of microelectrocars do not doubt: such models will become more popular due to the ever growing deficit of parking space in large cities. Especially among those who mostly travel alone, without passengers. However, i-Road is suitable for the role of public transport. When anyone wants to take a car for a while on one of the city’s special parking lots, and returns to another. It is according to this scheme has already begun to use very compact electric cars in several cities in France and Japan. Someone buys similar electric cars for themselves. Bachelors? Or fans of fashionable gadgets?
Formally, the two-seat saloon in i-Road is built on the principle of a tandem. Ahead of the driver’s seat, behind – a passenger stool. The child there will probably be comfortable. But even a thin and short girl will probably start whining: too closely. Still, it is more correct to consider the device as single.
The first feeling behind the wheel: you were put on a motorcycle, covered on top with a cap of glass, plastic and metal. Although the steering wheel, turn signals and pedals like in a car. Even the side mirrors are quite comfortable and informative. On the driver’s place you do not experience any special discomfort and you quickly get used to it.
Acceleration is typical for an electric vehicle – almost noiseless and smooth acceleration. The power of each of the two electric motors is two kW. This is quite enough for quiet traffic in the city stream. In addition, in traffic jams due to the possibility of movement in the inter-row i-Road will overtake most cars.
The power reserve, which does not exceed 50 km, can be suitable for Japanese megacities, but for Moscow it is still too small. After all, then you need to put the Lilliput to recharge. And it takes about three hours. Wait for restyling? Soon we are promised more efficient batteries, the charge of which can be replenished much faster. In the meantime, it turns out that i-Road is not interesting for a private buyer. If I went on sale, it would cost as a budget car, which meanwhile is considered a full-fledged car. In addition, the microcar is not very user-friendly. It remains the only mission – public rental within the capital’s Boulevard or Garden Ring. Where there is less space for cars every year. In the historical center, i-Road looks more harmonious than an SUV the size of a tank. It is possible that such micromachines will be seen in the cartsling in the next year or two. If only we could catch up with Japan.