Two-Seater Toyota i-Road Zooms Tokyo's Streets

Toyota will be testing a two-seater version of the i-Road in the Shibuya area before it hits Japan's major streets. The test is a part of the Japanese carmaker's Open Road Project.

A two-seater version of the i-Road electric vehicle from Toyota has begun trials in the Shibuya Ward of Tokyo. This is in part of the company's Open Road Project that it started in July 2015 to instill freedom in urban mobility.

The two-seat i-Road has already been tested in Grenoble, France, and has passed the standards. However, this will be the first time it will be trialed in Japan after getting certification from the Ministry of Tourism, Land, Infrastructure and Transport.

The Open Road program will see the i-Roads loaned out for one month to various participants for the project. Its intentions are to see the vehicle's performance on routine travels like commuting or shopping and so on. To summarize, the project intends to find out if the vehicle has enough space characteristics to meet potential users' needs and if there is just enough space to effectively function for most people's usage.

A worthy note during the certification process is the requirements needed for the vehicle to be modified from a one-seat EV to a two-seat vehicle. Modifications included an addition of an Approaching Vehicle Audible System to the two-seat i-Road as well as vehicle-width indicators and reflectors.

Given the size of the two-seater electric vehicle and space shortage issues in Tokyo's roads, the Shibuya Municipal Government has taken an interest in the convenience that the i-Road brings, not only is it compact but also electric. Toyota and Shibuya, hand in hand, will be conducting the trials of the i-Road in an effort to study possibilities of future community-based developments. Perhaps in the future, Tokyo's inner urban roads will be reduced in size to free up space for business and housing.

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