Toyota i-ROAD is ready to transfer its credentials of being a purely concept vehicle to being one engaged in the real life. It is currently bringing the zero-emissions motoring to Europe's crowded city centres. A fleet of its i-ROAD and COMS ultra-compact electric vehicles are set to prove how clean and easy urban motoring can be. The first city in which these three- and four-wheelers will appear by taking part in a major pilot programme, is the French city of Grenoble.

The project, in which Toyota is taking participation, is a three-year low-carbon car sharing scheme, which is aims to transform the way people plan and make local journeys.  The company will supply 35 of each type of vehicle, thus contributing its harmonious mobility (Ha:Mo) system to manage the scheme day-to-day.

Of course, the local authorities in Grenoble have also supported the project. Precisely, the French power supplier EDF manages and maintains electric charging points as well as the well-established local car-share operator Cité lib.

From the beginning of next month, anyone who holds a valid driving licence can register with Cite Lib to gain access to the Toyota electric vehicles. The users have the opportunity to subscribe to the service and download an application on their devices to see the real-time location of vehicles that are charged and ready to use.

After that, he or she will be able to pick up their car and drop it off at a different location: exactly one of 27 charging stations in the greater Grenoble area. Of course, when the vehicle is dropped off, it is plugged into the station, thus being recharged and ready for the next customer.

This exclusive and innovative programme is a way of building a better-integrated public transport service. For instance, people can collect an electric vehicle from a location near their home or office and then drive to a local transport hub to continue their journey. At the same time, those who are arriving by bus or train can step into a car on arrival to complete their trip. The network of charging stations is connected to Grenoble's transport network IT system, so the journey planning is even made easier.

Toyota i-ROAD utilizes clever Active Lean technology, which steers in a similar way to the movements of a skier (take a look at the pictures in the gallery below). The vehicle is not much larger than a motorbike or scooter. However, it is equipped with a full canopy that protects the driver and gives them a secure feeling and comfort of a car.

At last, Toyota confirmed future plans for the program. The company will collect data on technical issues and user behaviour during the pilot the programme, thus helping shape future mobility initiatives.

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Source: Toyota