Toyota might be shunning full-size electric cars in preference for hydrogen fuel cell cars, but that hasn’t stopped the Japanese automaker from participating in a new pilot project which could make our cities greener and more pleasant to live in.
But it isn’t Toyota’s full-size RAV4 EV taking part: it’s Toyota’s all-electric i-ROAD and COMS urban runabouts.
Enter Citélib by Ha:mo (pronounced Haah mo) , a new pilot project due to start in October in the French city of Grenoble. Designed to cut city congestion, pollution and commute time, the backbone of the Ha:mo system is a cloud-connected computer system that allows users to check the status of public transport, view congestion, and even reserve all-electric two-seat city runabouts to help them make that final mile from the train station to their destination.
Leveraging infrastructure provided by Citélib, an existing car-sharing service in Grenoble, the Citélib by Ha:mo pilot project — jointly run by many companies including EDF, local government, Citélib and Toyota — offers registered users a new way of route planning. Similar to the multi-modal route planning offered by BMW for owners of its BMW i3 and i8 plug-in vehicles, Citélib says the new Ha:mo service will change the way we think about commuting.
The grand vision of the project is simple. Instead of expecting users to always take the same route to work every day, Citélib by Ha:mo offers the best commuting solution based on current weather, congestion and time of day. The more Ha:mo users registered, the more accurate the system can be at plotting the best route and travel options for each user.
In an ideal world, every commuter would use Citélib by Ha:mo to plan their daily commute, resulting in dramatically reduced congestion, a lower number of full-size vehicles driving through town, and better air quality too.
Like BMW’s system, Ha:mo takes into account public transportation option, offering multi-modal solutions to users when they are faster and more efficient than just taking the car.
Because Citélib by Ha:mo also operates with the existing Citélib car sharing service, users will also be able to reserve one of seventy Toyota i-ROAD or COM electric runabouts to continue their journey. It even allows for one-way travel, so users don’t have to return their borrowed vehicle to the same place they picked it up.
With zero tailpipe emissions, users can continue their final mile of travel without worrying about causing city centre pollution, while the narrow nature of the i-ROAD and COMS electric runabouts mean they can cut through traffic far more easily than a full-size car. In fact, while the COMS electric runabout looks a little like Reanult’s four-wheel Twizy, the Toyota i-ROAD more closely resembles a three-wheeled trike and can lean like a motorcycle on corners.
Toyota says the benefits to using the i-ROAD and COMS rather than full-size electric vehicles don’t just relate to the ease with which you can get through traffic: far smaller than a standard car, it’s possible to squeeze many more in a parking space, making it far easier to dedicate specialist charging and parking zones for the quirky EVs.
The pilot project starts this autumn and runs for three years, so expect more from this interesting pilot project as it progresses.
What do you think of multi-modal transportation projects like this. Do you think it’s a good idea to leave your car in the suburbs and take the train instead? How do you think this project will be perceived?
Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.
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