MotorcycleDaily.com – Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

My Next Motorcycle is a . . . Toyota? (With video)

If Honda is the big dog corporation in the motorcycle industry, what is Toyota? In terms of sales, Toyota dwarfs Honda annually.

With the introduction of its i-Road concept at the Geneva Motor Show this week, Toyota signals its willingness to pursue all forms of personal transport devices (here, a three-wheeler) that might prove popular in urban environments.  The i-Road is purely electric, not a hybrid, only 850mm wide (as narrow as some motorcycles), and it leans through corners.

The concept puts out just 5 horsepower, or so, and boasts a range of only 30 miles, after which you can charge it using your conventional home outlet.

Described as a “Personal Mobility Vehicle” by Toyota, does the i-Road represent a new frontier for the giant corporation?  Time will tell.

50 Comments

  1. david says:

    Great concept and I wish it will be coming to production soon. Imagine when American commutes to work with this vehicle instead of 4 seat sedan or a truck, that would greatly reduces fuel consumption, less depending on foreign oil, and make the air we breath cleaner. Toyota has made the right investment. I bet Asia markets are the first to have this thing because it’s affordable to less developed countries.

    Report this comment

  2. richard says:

    Wow a whole 30 miles! Even in the UK that’ll only just about get you to the end of the street and back. In the USA you probably wouldn’t even get out of your driveway.

    Report this comment

  3. Gary says:

    That thing looks like a kick in the a$$ to drive.

    Report this comment

  4. Russell says:

    Cute, but I think Elio Motors has a better idea. And it will be made in America.
    3 wheels, air and heat, radio, seats two. And if they can keep to their goal of selling it
    for $6800. It should be a hit.
    Check it out at
    eliomotors.com

    Report this comment

  5. bkowal says:

    The CGI guys need to brush up on thier motorcycle dynamics. The bikes are leaning over at Moto GP speeds while travelling at a walking pace. You are gonna spill your chai double latte. Rear wheel steering? That would be a strange animal to drive on the street.

    Report this comment

  6. Norm G. says:

    car side cash once again proves my theory. if you nail the packaging (cosmetics/aesthetics) you can sell the masses anything. it’s not like we haven’t already seen a 100 of these type vehicles from bike side and independents, yet proliferation =’s ZERO.

    however, one thing in this rendering i think they’ve gotten wrong for mass mass market appeal believe it or not is the vehicle dynamics (ie. the leaning).

    sure, while WE as the motorcycling 3% are more than comfortable with the motion, the 97% soccer mom majority (as depicted in the image) want no parts of it. they want complete isolation/comfort. the adrenaline response may register to us as “thrill”, but to them it registers as “fear”. my wife for example hates flying and roller coasters. hell, she even hates fast moving elevators and suprisingly most women i talk to fall in that same boat. those who don’t are simply the “exception” to the rule not the rule. humans by definition are risk averse.

    Report this comment

    • goose says:

      Norm,

      I think you are confusing American with human. I’ve done a bit of traveling, outside the US most people ride a motorcycle, moped or scooter at some point in their life. They are also less invested with the American myth that you can live life without risk. They may not be enthusiasts like the folks on this site but they are not as adverse to leaning as you describe. My guess is Toyota would target the I-Drive for Europe and Asia, not the US. More receptive people and compact, urban environments would be more appropriate for the little thing than the US.

      You might also think about finding a better class of females. My wife loves to ride, rode her own bike until health issues forced her to the back seat. I regularly ride with a lovely young woman (the GF of a young friend) who has gone from zero experience to a really good rider in the last few years. In the past I used to enjoy trying to keep up with the late Fran Crane, even if I never succeeded for long.

      Goose

      Report this comment

  7. MGNorge says:

    It rather reminded me of something Apple would make, then I saw its moniker..yep! Designed for today’s crowd and to appeal to them. I just would like some new interesting naming strategies before they all become an iSore!

    If Toyota ever put something to market like this and it proved popular enough you just know Honda wouldn’t be far behind. I say bring it on!

    Report this comment

  8. Lenz says:

    Some of the negative comments here show a distinct lack of understanding of the difference between conceptual presentation and final production.

    Conceptually, this vehicle ticks a lot of forward looking boxes for non mass transit vehicles. Electric powered, highly stable, narrow format, operator protection and aerodynamic efficency. From a practicality point of view, this vehicle is potentially attractive to many of the scooter brigade, people who rejected a scooter / motorcycle due to safety concerns and many others who don’t suffer from “hardening of the attitude”

    Forget about the technicalities of range – that’s subject to the engineering dept – it’s a CONCEPT and a good one.

    Report this comment

  9. Not I says:

    What an oven that would be. Does Toyota really thing Mom is gonna ride that without A/C and electric windoze?

    Report this comment

  10. James says:

    Anyone remember the hype surrounding the Segway? I guess I can never understand why people always seem to forget about that best invention ever – the bicycle. It’s cheap, easily stored, no emissions, no insurance, no license, no taxes, and increases the health of the rider. Yes, you have to actually burn some of your own energy and you have to *gasp* deal with weather, but it still beats any of these high tech solutions.

    Report this comment

    • Lynchenstein says:

      You are on a Web site for motorcycle enthusiasts, remember? Motorcycles ain’t cheap, not too easy to store, have emissions, require insurance, a license, and are taxed. I’m not sure what your point is, perhaps you want people to stop dreaming up new things? Regardless, I think this is an interesting concept and looks like it could be fun.

      Report this comment

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Yes, you have to actually burn some of your own energy and you have to *gasp* deal with weather.”

      and therein lies your deal-breaker.

      re: “but it still beats any of these high tech solutions.”

      in the netherlands…? yes. bloated america…? not even close.

      Report this comment

  11. Foster says:

    Toyota should buy the rights to the Carver technology and go with that instead. It has already been a proven fun machine and more practical in terms of range and speed than this offering. Too bad Persu Mobility in the USA seems to have floundered in their attempt to get a Carver vehicle into production.

    Report this comment

  12. Bill says:

    Windows – do they roll down? Not in the video. Top – does it roll up. 30 miles is enough for us to go to town and back and run errands and it looks like this one might haul a few things, like food. Got to say, CGI or not, it looks like a lot of fun.

    Report this comment

  13. motowarrior says:

    I’d say let’s give Toyota a break. This is their first effort, and they did some things right. It’s a concept, FGS. There are about a dozen different takes on what it should be just from the comments so far. We should appreciate the fact that Toyota is finally seeing the virtue in 2-3 wheeled vehicles. Given time, they probably will develop some amazing stuff.

    Report this comment

  14. Jay says:

    It’s a wonderful idea, just what I’ve been mumbling about all along. Now, all they need to do is to wrap their heads around constructing roadways that are appropriately sized and laned for something other than semis.

    They need to get freight out of semis and onto minivan sized, mini-trucks, and trains for the big stuff, and then tear up the concrete.

    Report this comment

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “They need to get freight out of semis and onto minivan sized, mini-trucks”

      you, me, our children, and our children’s children will all go to our graves never having seen anything remotely resembling this.

      Report this comment

  15. takehikes says:

    As a concept it works….remember concepts are just that….so I think eventually electric with longer legs or small IC in 250-350cc range. Niche vehicle but might drag more people over to the evil side of motorcycles!

    Report this comment

  16. John A McDowell says:

    Ah, a Piaggio MP3 with a Roof and Doors. Nice Try, I hope the price is right

    Report this comment

  17. Dave says:

    A range of 5 miles, why not walk and invest the money?

  18. Crusty Kris says:

    Needs a Hayabusa engine and then it’s good to go.

    Report this comment

  19. patrick says:

    This would take off in the US if they had put my 600cc Honda Silverwing engine in it.

    Report this comment

  20. Fuzzyson1 says:

    Another concept car. Most concept cars are awesome, this one is not. Similar 3 wheel “pod” concepts have shown up before over the past dozen years. Where have they all gone? Nowhere. They’re too small, even for a commuter, their power and range lack considerably and the average person wants more than just a one or two seat “car” for their daily driver. On 30 miles per charge the only place you’d ever be able to drive one is in a city and a very flat one at that. Dear Toyota-you make great cars and trucks, stick with what you do best. If you want to impress the public make a gas or diesel Tundra that gets 30+ miles to the gallon with something bigger than a lawnmower engine in it.

    Report this comment

    • Dave says:

      The vast majority of people in the world live in cities. This range isn’t enough for the typical motorcyclist that reads this site but it’s probably ok for city commuters who want the smallest, most efficient vehicle they can have in a city. For many, the fatal blows to the scooter/motorcycle is getting wet and falling down. Little commuters like this fixes those problems. Maybe the time isn’t now, but it’s coming.

      Report this comment

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “diesel Tundra”

      FISTPUMP…!!!

      Report this comment

  21. Zammy says:

    I’d rather play with that than one of those goofy Can Am “hovaround” tricycles !!!

    Report this comment

  22. Provologna says:

    Dig.

    I owned about 75 bikes. Read your rave review of the CRF250X and passed along the recommendation to my friend, a Marine aviator. He absolutely loves the bike. I finally saw it and am mightily impressed by its overall superb look and especially finish quality, both far exceeding my 08 Yamaha WR250R.

    Anyway, he mentioned how much he loved commuting on it, how much shorter is his transit time vs. the cage. Then he mentioned though, how long it takes to get all the gear on/off, netting little time saved. I took note of that because I often lamented the same thing myself when I commuted.

    No such problem on this Toyota!

    Report this comment

  23. Khud says:

    Hey Toyota,
    Next time you’re going to CGI the motorcycles into the video instead of really filming them on the road – you might want to CGI in some riders. :)

    Report this comment

  24. SprintSport says:

    I’m curious how it turns. My first guess, after watching the video is that it has rear wheel steering. If so the leaning must not be natural but rather all computer controlled. The Carver uses computer controlled leaning based on speed and steering sensors.
    Also, it all looks like cgi rendering to me. Still, an interesting idea.

    Report this comment

  25. ABQ says:

    I doubt this would work on American roads. MAybe a retirement community or college campus neighborhood. Anywhere else, you can dump the electric motor and drop in a 650 motorcycle engine. I don’t want to get run over by a SUV.

    Report this comment

  26. ApriliaRST says:

    I watched the expression on my wife’s face as she viewed the video. She began to smile, even though she once tried unsuccessfully to learn to ride a motorcycle. The thing with this vehicle is that it offers personal protection along with mobility.

    She wants a red one.

    Report this comment

  27. Dave says:

    I don’t know why something like this couldn’t be built on a 400-600cc scooter motor/rear suspension (reverse gear added). That could be something.

    Report this comment

  28. Cinderbob says:

    It looks like a lot of fun. I’d love to try one out.

    Report this comment

  29. ROXX says:

    Top speed is listed at 28 MPH.
    I’m sure all the greenies are wetting themselves about now.
    Go crazy.

    Report this comment

  30. Gutterslob says:

    Cute…. needs a Hello Kitty paint job, though.

    Report this comment

  31. todd says:

    Cute. Why not? Figure a moped has 1 or 2 HP and can do 25-30 mph. This has five and is a lot more aerodynamic. You could probably do 50 with traffic.

    -todd

    Report this comment

  32. mickey says:

    Cute..but 30 miles on a charge? Better live real close to work. At leat you wont get wet when it rains. Article doesnt say what top speed is, but will it keep up with traffic? Say 45 mph?

    Report this comment