Butterfly-wing Toyota all set for city-flitting

  • Three-wheeler for city folk
  • Full autonomy for socialising
  • Butterfly doors from windscreen
TOYOTA CITY CONCEPT: Startling three-wheeler at 2017 Geneva auto show. Image: Toyota
TOYOTA CITY CONCEPT: Startling three-wheeler at 2017 Geneva auto show. Image: Toyota

GENEVA, Switzerland – Toyota has unveiled what it calls “a daring concept” (The Corner thinks it’s kinda cute and would love one!) intended to show how electric vehicles can be not only environment-friendly but also fun to drive.

It’s the i-TRIL concept here at the 2017 Geneva auto show and described as “a viable alternative to city cars, other electric vehicles, public transport and motorcycles” – a small, agile car for city folk often in stuck in stop/start traffic while out shopping, dining, socialising or doing the school run.

TOYOTA CITY CONCEPT: Startling three-wheeler at 2017 Geneva auto show. Image: Toyota
TOYOTA CITY CONCEPT: Startling three-wheeler at 2017 Geneva auto show. Image: Toyota

It weighs only 600kg, is just three metres long and 1.51m tall. and has 1.2m front and 600mm rear track with seats arranged for driver/front passengers and a tail-gunner. Toyota reckons on a reasonable battery range of 200km – ample for commuting.

40 YEARS OF DEVELOPMENT

Amazingly, it can also be totally autonomous. Set the destination, the i-TRIL will do the rest.

The car was developed by Toyota Motor Europe in collaboration with the company’s ED2design studio in France and, the automaker says, “is the latest result of more than 40 years of research and development”.

It rides like a motorcycle – that is, it leans through road curves though the rear driving wheels remain perpendicular to the tar, similar to a three-wheeled motorcycle. It’s street turning circle can be only four metres.

DRIVE-BY-WIRE – LIKE A GAME

A butterfly-wing door each side is hinged to the windscreen pillars. When opened they action also removes a section of floor to narrow the vehicle’s footprint and make stepping out easier.
The front seats can also be swivelled by up to 20 degrees for easier entry/exit.

Under human control, steering, acceleration and braking are carried out through drive-by-wire control similar to an electronic game – though withdrawn when the vehicle is moving autonomously. There are no pedals, other controls of switches. A head-up display shows all necessary information on the windscreen.

Other driving instructions can be voice-driven.

HANGING HEAD-RESTRAINT

The i-TRIL redefines interior space with a design philosophy that allows rear-seat passengers to become much more involved in the driving experience without interrupting the driver’s space. Better yet, it affords them far greater forward visibility and extensive legroom either side of the front driver’s seat.

The front head-restraint is fixed to the roof but pivots down and into position when the i-TRIL is switched on. The cabin, Toyota says, has been designed “to avoid an overtly automotive feel” and has a wooden-floor finish – all made from recycled material.

The tread pattern on the Goodyear 19″ front and 20″ rear tyres has been cut to match the ribbed design of the interior.

TOYOTA CITY CONCEPT: Startling three-wheeler at 2017 Geneva auto show. Image: Toyota
TOYOTA CITY CONCEPT: Startling three-wheeler at 2017 Geneva auto show. Image: Toyota
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