Seventy of Toyota’s i-ROAD and COMS ultra-compact personal mobility electric vehicles will hit the road in Europe.
As part of a three-year integrated EV car sharing and public transport test project being launched in Grenoble, France in the autumn, this will be i-ROAD’s first official on-road trial in Europe.
Toyota said that this October, 70 i-ROAD and COMS ultra-compact electric vehicles, and around 30 charging stations developed and managed by EDF’s subsidiary Sodetrel, will be open for service for a period of three years. The Japanese company added this is the result of a unique partnership between the City and the Metropolitan Area of Grenoble, French energy company EDF, Japanese car maker Toyota and Citélib, a local car-sharing operator.
Connected to the public transport system’s IT infrastructure, this new car-sharing scheme will complement Citélib, the current car-sharing service of Grenoble, by allowing users to pick up one of the small EVs at one location and drop it off at another, added Toyota. The project also aims to promote interconnectivity of public transport methods (trams, buses, trains) and a new type of personal mobility using small vehicles that don’t take up as much space as a normal car.
Partners in the project said the main idea is to allow commuters to drive the first or last kilometers of their journey for increased flexibility and time-saving, thus contributing to reducing traffic congestion and improving air quality in city centers.
Toyota explained surveys show that the average daily commute in Europe takes between 40 and 50 minutes. Increasingly, commuters use public transport, but most of them still have to walk a good 15 minutes to reach their final destination. New IT technologies, paired with innovative mobility solutions, are starting to allow the introduction of more flexibility to urban mobility, and will undoubtedly make up the cornerstone of future smart cities.
How does Citélib by Ha:mo work? Here is an example given by the car sharing company: during your tram ride, you whip out your smartphone. With an app, you can visualise the available i-ROADs at your usual stop. In a few clicks, you reserve and pay. Another app can also allow you to see the status of traffic and public transport before you leave, so you can plan the best route that day. Once you get off the tram, all you have to do is flash your phone onto the charging station to release your i-ROAD.
There will be around 30 stations in Grenoble, a network partners said is tight enough to get as close as possible to most destinations.