Toyota Readies For Possible U.S. Launch Of i-Road With i-Rodeo Test Drives In Texas

JUL 13 2015 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 27

Toyota COMS and i-ROAD

Toyota COMS and i-ROAD

Toyota i-Road

Toyota i-Road

Toyota officially states that “No specific plans have been announced for U.S. i-Road demonstration programs or sales.” But the automaker seems open to the idea of eventually launching the i-Road in the U.S.  According to Toyota:

“…if focus group members have anything to say about it, you may see i-Roads on a road near you in the future.”

So, there’s at least a chance we’ll see the i-Road available to the public in the U.S. at some point in the future.

Toyota took the i-Road to Texas to test it out with focus groups.  Here’s the press release from that i-Rodeo i-Road event:

Texas Welcomes Its First i-Rodeo

Dallas Residents Participate in i-Road and COMS Customer Focus Groups

DALLAS – Texans are taking a zippy zero emission spin, courtesy of Toyota.

North Texas residents met the i-Road, three wheeled electric vehicle, and COMS, super-compact electric vehicle, last weekend at the American Airlines center in Dallas. The 65 participants spent time taking the cars through their paces, answering questions about their driving preferences, how ultra-compact electric vehicles could be used in their daily lives, and providing product feedback to Toyota researchers.

“As we look for ways to ease congestion in major hubs like the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, we are exploring how these types of electric vehicles may fit into the transportation landscape,” said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer, Toyota North America. “We’re excited to show Texans where these advanced technologies could take us.”

Similar focus groups were held in Silicon Valley, California in February 2015 with positive feedback from participants. One driver presented a credit card for an immediate i-Road purchase. Unfortunately, that driver may have to wait a bit longer.

i-Road demonstration programs are already underway in France and Japan, testing usage and acceptance in urban markets. In Grenoble, France and Toyota City, Japan, demonstration units are placed in car sharing applications, while i-Roads in Tokyo, Japan will be loaned to individual drivers starting next month. COMS electric vehicles are currently on sale in Japan.

No specific plans have been announced for U.S. i-Road demonstration programs or sales. But if focus group members have anything to say about it, you may see i-Roads on a road near you in the future.

Where do we sign? We’ll take two.

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27 Comments on "Toyota Readies For Possible U.S. Launch Of i-Road With i-Rodeo Test Drives In Texas"

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Jelloslug
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Jelloslug

Really?

I mean, really?

no comment
Guest
no comment

why is this any stranger than riding around on a motorcycle?

my first thought when i read the headline was to question why they were debuting this in texASS when the market for electric vehicles is california. but apparently they had already gone to california.

Taser54
Guest
Taser54

Should at least have two seats, like Elio.

Lou Grinzo
Guest
Lou Grinzo

Of course, because this makes SOOOOO much more sense than introducing an EV version of the Corolla or Camry or Yaris or…

Honestly, I often think that the people running Toyota are dumber than a sack of depleted alkaline batteries.

LusTuCCC
Guest
LusTuCCC

+10
But they are not dumb, like all other ICE car company, they protect their lucrative market and greenwash their image with compliance (or semi-compliance) weak, rare and expensive offering…or something like this, an impractical toy.

AK
Guest
AK

They’re risk adverse. It’s the same decision tree that has led to the Camry being the most boring mid-size in the world with reliability not any better than the Accord, Legacy, or Mazda6. Welcome to Toyota in the 21st century.

Speculawyer
Guest
Speculawyer

It is hard to avoid the feeling that Toyota is trying to mock EVs.

What would this thing be classified as? A motorcycle or an NEV?

Anon
Guest
Anon

*shrugs*

I do like the Twizzy better.

AK
Guest
AK

3 wheels so a motorcycle, and in most states you won’t need an endorsement because it has a windshield, wipers, steering wheel, self balanced, fully enclosed, etc.

Someone out there
Guest
Someone out there

The i-Road concept is the future, although it should be autonomous as well. The small, nippy people carrier is perfect for a car sharing business!
Most people ride alone in their cars anyway, why drive a huge 5-seater when you only need one seat?

Anon
Guest
Anon

People want the safety and increased statistical survivability of an accident, in a heavier 5 seater. 😛

Someone out there
Guest
Someone out there

In the slow speeds of city traffic it doesn’t matter much.

Anon
Guest
Anon

Tell that to a customer, and see if they’ll take your word for it. Perception, whether right or wrong, rules the buyer’s mind.

Bruce
Guest

Hope they are not neighborhood cars, but can go 75 km/h! And have dedicated space for my electric unicycle!

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Pushmi-Pullyu

Top speed of 30 MPH, 5 HP, and two in-line seats, according to the source linked below.

Seems like it would be most appropriate to license it as a NEV, with that low a top speed. But it may depend on State law; certainly in many or most states, you can license 3-wheeled vehicles as motorcycles. However, motorcycles can operate on highways; this should not.

Pushmi-Pullyu
Guest
Mike777
Guest
Mike777

So, how is this supposed to work in North Texas, is this a retirement community hot spot???

Rick Danger
Guest
Rick Danger

With at least 50 miles of range and 50 MPH top speed, this could be a viable option for inner city surface street travel.
Anything less and it’s a worthless toy.

Anon
Guest
Anon

It’s probably equally awesome on the golf course, too. Why rent one, when you can just drive yours on the green…

Warren
Guest
Warren

I think we need to go on TV and pour gasoline over our grandkids. Then tell the car companies we want a 400 mile range, 100 mph, seven passenger electric SUV for $30K, or we will light them up. That IS basically what we are doing already. 🙁

krona2k
Guest
krona2k

Junk.

Anon
Guest
Anon

i-junk. 😉

pjwood1
Guest
pjwood1

Other EVs should get rebates, for hitting these.

$10,000 if you disable a red one.

JakeY
Guest
JakeY

Given that the Twitzy sales were mediocre in Europe (where you would expect such a vehicle to be a big hit), I am not optimistic about the chances here.

I would much rather see Toyota develop a serious EV. If they made an EV Prius there is no doubt they can easily outsell the Leaf.

Jim Gord
Guest
Jim Gord

What a joke!
Too bad Toyota does not make a real EV.
A big $ write down coming . . . .

EBE
Guest
EBE

I like the concept but….. in Texas? land of the suburban is your typical commuter car?
no thanks

mhpr262
Guest
mhpr262

What the article omits is the terrible range these things have – like 15 miles or so.