Toyota’s proposed alternative to traditional compact cars, EVs, public transport, and motorcycles is a small three-seater EV with no pedals. Called the Toyota i-TRIL concept, the automaker’s vision of urban mobility debuted at the Geneva auto show.
According to Toyota, European studies have shown that the continent will experience more growth in its small- to medium-sized towns (SMESTOs) than in existing large metropolitan areas such as Paris or London. The automaker developed the i-TRIL for a specific and new type of customer: a sophisticated, single, 30-50-year-old female with two children and an active lifestyle that lives and travels extensively in a future medium-density suburban area.
Developed by Toyota Motors Europe and the automaker’s design studio in Nice, the i-TRIL is powered by an electric motor, weighs only 1,300 pounds, is roughly 9 feet long, less than 5 feet high, and has a front track width of only 4 feet (rear track is 2 feet). With the front wheels and fenders separated from the body and a hinge between the rear axle and cabin, the i-TRIL shows off the automaker’s Active Lean Technology, a feature that first debuted on the i-Road concept. Toyota claims this technology enhances stability and grip while providing greater driving pleasure and less risk of passenger car sickness.
Toyota’s “Relaxed Engagement” driving position was chosen by a focus group of target customers and is slightly higher and more laid-back than normal. Toyota says this gives the driver good steering “module” engagement. With no pedals to worry about, the driver can stretch their legs and wear any style of footwear. Steering, acceleration, and braking are conducted via drive-by-wire technology using left- and right-hand control modes which extend toward the driver’s hands.
Traditional controls, buttons, knobs, and the instrument panel are replaced by a head-up display and a new Human Machine Interface (HMI) system that focuses on voice activation technology, allowing the driver to communicate to the vehicle’s Artificial Intelligence in order to control the multimedia and infotainment systems.
The interior is built around the driver while the one-plus-two seating configuration brings the rear passengers closer to the driver without intruding on personal space. The arrangement also allows for impressive legroom – enough room for three adults, according to Toyota. Toyota expects the EV’s driving range to be about 125 miles, and much of that distance can be driven autonomously thanks to self-driving technology.
Along with the i-TRIL, Toyota also revealed the significantly refreshed Yaris and Yaris hot hatch concept in Geneva.