CEATEC 2013: AkihabaraNews Meets the Toyota i-Road

CEATEC 2013 - Toyota i-Road - AkihabaraNews.com

(UPDATE - new photos just added!)

AkihabaraNews is Live-Wandering at CEATEC 2013! 
And the word is operative; there's just so much, and it's just so big - with the requisite superdorky awe, wandering is about all one can do for the first hour or so before deciding what really catches the eye. 

Parsing what does and doesn't is challenging to say the least, but our two on-site editors both agreed that Toyota's i-Road concept vehicle (gallery below), along with the whole presentation, had a serious air of high-tech fun. And that fun is nice, because despite the awesomness of the piles and piles of supertech crammed into the cavernous halls of the Makuhari Messe convention center, this year "fun" doesn't seem to be making a strong showing.

We'll check on that again and make sure, though.

Toyota i-Road Electric Car/Bike/Trike Thingy
Conceived as a fun city commuter, the two-seater actually debuted in March of this year. It has a range of 50 kilometers (31 miles), and is only 85cm/2ft 8in wide, making it ideal for cities with really serious population density... which includes about 80% of Japan. 

More from Toyota:

"It is no wider than a conventional two-wheeler. Not only does this make for easy manoeuvring through congested traffic, it also means four can be parked in a single parking bay.

The zero-emissions, all-electric powertrain uses a lithium-ion battery to power two 2kW motors mounted in the front wheels, giving brisk acceleration and near-silent running. The battery can be fully recharged from a conventional domestic power supply in three hours. 

Toyota's new and entirely intuitive Active Lean technology is the key to i-ROAD's high levels of stability, safety, comfort and fun-to-drive character. The system uses a lean actuator and gearing mounted above the front suspension member, linked via a yoke to the left and right front wheels. An ECU calculates the required degree of lean based on steering angle, gyro-sensor and vehicle speed information, with the system automatically moving the wheels up and down in opposite directions, applying lean angle to counteract the centrifugal force of cornering.

The system also operates when the i-ROAD is being driven in a straight line over stepped surfaces. The actuator automatically compensates for changes in the road to keep the body level. The minimum turning circle is just three metres."

More CEATEC 2013 to Come!
We'll have more coverage and commentary coming up - and hopefully we'll find more fun - stay tuned!


Images: AkihabaraNews.com