Toyota Prepares Trial i-Road Sharing Service to Reduce Pollution (PHOTOS)

Apr 09, 2015 10:40 AM EDT | Matt Mercuro


A trike that is good for the environment and handy in a traffic jam? Seems too good to be true right?

Well it isn't, thanks to Toyota's new three-wheel electric car-motorbike called the "i-Road," which will be tested initially in Tokyo to try reducing pollution and traffic in Japan's capital.

Toyota is teaming with Japanese car-sharing service operator Park24 for the six-month trial run, which is set to start on April 10, according to Reuters. If all goes well the test run could become a new car-sharing type business similar to Daimler's car2go service.

The i-Road features two front wheels that move up and down independently of each other, which lets it act more like a motorcycle on the road while maintaining the stability of an EV.

Toyota has yet to decide if i-Road will be mass produced yet.

For the trial run, users will be able to lease one of five different i-Roads from the Ginza shopping district for 412 yen ($3 USD) per 15 minutes, according to Reuters. Vehicles can be dropped off at any of the five designated spots in the capital once users are finished.

Sounds familiar right?

Daimler's car2go service allows drivers use their phones to reserve a Smart Fortwo car, which drivers pay to use by the minute, according to the car2go's website. Once a member is done using their vehicle they can park it on any street (non-metered spaces) within their car2go Home Area. 

The service has been a big hit so far in Europe and North America, as more than one million members have downloaded the mobile app.

Chief Engineer for i-Road, Akihiro Yanaka, thinks that Toyota would have the advantage over Daimler if they're able to make the i-Road work.

"Daimler doesn't have anything smaller than the Smart," Yanaka said to Reuters. "If we can make it work, the i-Road could have an advantage."

If Toyota's Park24 service is also a hit we could be witnessing the beginning of a revolution.

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