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Powering the future

Innovation for now and the future

For Toyota, the mood at the Paris Motor Show is one of overwhelming optimism. With head-turning models on display such as i-ROAD, Fuel Cell Sedan and the C-HR Concept, there’s no question that the future looks bright. But for the here and now, hybrid technology remains at the core of our business.

Toyota = Hybrid

Hybrid has become synonymous with Toyota and vice-versa. Apart from the many rational reasons to choose a hybrid such as fuel efficiency, low emissions and refinement, there is perhaps an even more important emotional one: hybrid’s incredible ability to calm and de-stress, making you feel better in our increasingly busy lives.


Globally we have just produced our seven millionth hybrid and, in Europe, nearly half of all Auris and over a third of Yaris sales are powered by hybrid –the technology has become a real differentiator for us.

And through our participation in the World Endurance Championship we have added another dimension to hybrid, one that has enthused thousands of fans by demonstrating that hybrid is not only fuel efficient, but fast and fun too!


Looking further on, we believe i-ROAD is the answer for the first or last few miles of our journeys in our cities. Shown nearly two years before as a concept, the i-ROAD has been further refined since then to offer improved visibility, weatherproofing, manoeuvrability and user-friendliness, and is now road legal and ready to roam.

Finished in a choice of five urban-chic body colours, i-ROAD has adopted a fully round steering wheel design in conjunction with the normal accelerator and brake pedals of a conventional city car, to improve ease of driving.


Paris Motorshow 2014 - Powering The Future

Feel the lean

Key to the i-ROAD’s unique driving experience is the new, entirely intuitive ‘Active Lean’ technology. Operating in conjunction with rear-wheel steering, it incorporates a clever setup of sensors, motors and gearing that allows the system to automatically move the wheels up and down in opposite directions to apply lean angle when you negotiate a corner.

This system also operates when the i-ROAD is being driven straight ahead on a stepped surface; the ‘Active Lean’ technology automatically compensating for changes in the road surface to keep the body level.


Measuring 2,345mm long, 1,455mm high and 870mm wide, the PMV combines the agility of a motorcycle with the comfort of a car thanks to its weatherproof cabin (no helmet is required). The system eliminates the need to lower your feet at any point, so the driver remains enclosed in a safer closed body construction and benefits from car-like features, such as heating, audio and mobile phone connectivity.

The fully electric powertrain of the i-ROAD remains unchanged, featuring a lithium-ion battery providing power to a pair of 1.9kW electric motors mounted within the front wheels. Offering brisk acceleration and near-silent running, the i-ROAD can travel at up to 50km/h and can be recharged from a household socket in only three hours.

A new mobility system

With its futuristic looks and agility, it’s hard to believe the lucky residents of Grenoble (France) can now get behind the wheel of one as part of a new total mobility solution.

In a project that sees Toyota partnering with the local authorities of the city and region of Grenoble, EDF, Sodetrel and car-sharing operator Citelib, 35 fun-to-drive three-wheel Toyota i-ROADs and 35 four-wheel COMS personal mobility vehicles have been contributed by Toyota to complement Grenoble’s existing public transport network. The trial, which is scheduled to run for three years and begins this month, will offer residents a solution for the short trips planned as part of their city journey, while reducing traffic congestion and emissions and improving air quality in the city.

Fuel Cell Sedan

We consider fuel cell to be a key technology to future mobility and on our stand at Paris we have another showstopper: the Fuel Cell Sedan. After 20 years of development, our first production hydrogen car will be coming to Europe in the summer of 2015, initially available in the UK, Germany and Denmark.

At first glance you could be mistaken for thinking you were looking at a conventional petrol-powered sedan, but look a little closer and you’ll realise that beneath its body sits the future of sustainable motoring. And the most incredible thing. The only emission from its exhaust is water vapour!

The fuel cell stack

In place of the much-loved combustion engine sits something completely new: a fuel cell stack. Hydrogen, which can be manufactured from natural energies such as solar and wind, reacts with oxygen from the air to generate electricity. Working independently or both together, the hydrogen fuel cell, along with electricity stored in a battery, can take you wherever you want to go.


A key feature of this new generation of fuel cells is that it has no humidifier. The humidity required for its operation is derived directly from the production of water, which is a by-product in the chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen. Because of this, the structure of the fuel cell is simpler, more reliable, lighter and more compact and all-in-all cheaper.

When you combine this with a refuelling time of around three minutes and driving range of over 500km, and space for four people, and you can see that the Fuel Cell Sedan offers the flexibility of a conventional car without any of the drawbacks.

It will take time, and we will take it step-by-step, but we are positive that in the not-too-distant future fuel cell cars will become a common sight on our roads.

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