Toyota is offering a fascinating glimpse into the clean city of as it brings nimble, zero-emission motoring to Europe’s crowded city centres with a fleet of its i-ROAD and COMS ultra-compact electric vehicles.
The chic and colourful three and four-wheelers will showcase how clean and easy urban motoring can be by taking part in a major pilot programme in the French city of Grenoble. Citélib by Ha:mo is Toyota’s second “Ha:mo” (short for harmonious mobility) project and the first outside Japan.
Toyota is a key partner in the three-year low-carbon car-sharing scheme, which is expected to transform the way people plan and make local journeys. The leading global automaker is supplying 35 units of each type of vehicle and is also contributing its Ha:mo system to manage the scheme on a day-to-day basis in line with a model that’s already been successfully trialed across Toyota City in Japan. That’s the top importer of Japanese cars.
Known as Cité lib by Ha:mo, the programme is also supported by local authorities in Grenoble, the French power supplier EDF, SODETREL, an EDF subsidiary that installs, manages and maintains electric charging points, and well-established local car-share operator Cité lib.
Commenting on the programme, Takayuki Yoshitsugu, chief representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, TOYOTA Motor Corporation, says, “This concept is in line with Toyota’s overall future mobility vision which is based on four pillars: safety, comfort, ease of use and ecology. Ha:mo was designed to reduce the stress caused by traffic jams, peak traffic hours, and searching for a parking space.
“It also allows a reduction in emissions that cause poor air quality in city centres. From Toyota’s perspective, such initiatives reflect our constant efforts at developing new and innovative forms of mobility while tapping into new growth areas in the urban transportation sector.”
Both Toyota vehicles have been developed as user-friendly transport around town. The i-ROAD is particularly innovative, using a clever Active Lean technology that steers in a similar way to the movements of a skier. It’s not much larger than a motorbike or scooter, but has a full canopy that protects the driver from the elements and gives the kind of secure feeling and comfort of a car.
From 1 October 2014, anyone 18 years or older who holds a valid driving license can register with Cité lib to gain access to the Toyota electric vehicles. Once subscribed to the service, they can download an application on their smartphone, tablet or computer to see the real-time location of vehicles that are charged and ready to use.
People will be able to pick up their car and drop it off at a different location – any of 27 charging stations in the greater Grenoble area – rather than having to make a round-trip. When the vehicle is dropped off, it is plugged into the station to be recharged and ready for the next customer.
The concept is seen as a way of building a better-integrated public transport service, where people collect an electric vehicle from a location near their home or office to drive to a local transport hub for the next stage of their journey.
Likewise, people arriving by bus or train can step into a car on arrival to complete the last leg of their trip. The network of charging stations is seamlessly connected to Grenoble’s transport network IT system to make total journey planning easier.
During the pilot, the programme partners will gather data on technical issues and user behaviour to help shape future mobility initiatives.
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