Future Models - Toyota 2030 i-TRIL
Geneva show: Toyota’s fresh angle on future transport
Question: What will future generations expect from us? Toyota’s answer: A little urban runabout that is not only easy on the environment but fun to drive at slow speeds.
European-developed Toyota i-TRIL concept addresses future mobility needs of society
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8 March 2017
JAPANESE motor industry giant Toyota has turned to the south of France, Nice,
for guidance on the mobility needs of urban society in 2030 and future
generations of vehicle buyers, with the result emerging at the Geneva motor
show overnight in the form of the electric-powered, autonomous three-seater
Toyota Motor Europe (TME) was charged with developing the new concept car, and
its designers and engineers from its so-called EDē European design centre on
the French Riviera were, as TME president and CEO Johan Van Zyl explained,
directed to “get out of their offices, to go and observe our target younger
audience and then to be ready to answer what will future generations expect
Brought forward to explain the result, chief designer Pierre Romeo said: “In a
word, I think the future is all about variety, allowing mobility to become more
specific to what people really want, rather than just a general ‘one size fits
“If you’re living in the city, commuting, running the kids to school, shopping,
but you still want to have a bit of fun, then this is the answer for you.
“It’s basically a 1+2 concept, with the driver up front and the two rear seats
offset either side. Plenty of leg space for everyone, and a completely open,
panoramic view forward dedicated to the driver. It has an electric powertrain
good for more than 200km range in real life and is ready for the autonomous
“The whole interior is designed to create a welcoming fun and relaxed space for
all the passengers.”
Along similar lines to the i-Road concept shown in Geneva in 2013, the i-TRIL
also employs “active lean” technology which has a hinge between the cabin and
rear axle that allows the body and front tyres (19-inch) to lean during
cornering to an angle of 10 degrees while the rear tyres (20-inch) remain
perpendicular to the road.
This is said to be ideal for combining stability, grip and, not least of all,
more driving pleasure and less chance of car sickness.
The leaning tech is allied to 25 degrees of front-wheel steering, equipping the
i-TRIL with a turning circle of just four metres.
Confident about the i-TRIL’s place in the world, Toyota claims the concept car
is a “viable alternative” to city cars, other electric vehicles, public
transport and motorcycles.
Driven by an unspecified electric motor, the little runabout weighs only 600kg
and measures just 2830mm long, 1510mm high and has 1200mm front and 600mm rear
Entry to the vehicle is made via butterfly-opening doors hinged on the sloping
windscreen pillars, which take a section of the floor with them to make
stepping in and out an easier task, while the front seats can also be swivelled
by up to 20 degrees for improved ingress/egress.
The seating area is described as “spacious” for all three occupants, while
comfort and tradition were top of mind with the selection of Alcantara trim up
front, cloth upholstery for the rear bench seat and wood for the flooring (all
There are no pedals, leaving the driver to handle steering, acceleration and
braking using drive-by-wire control nodes (similar to video game controllers or
computer mice), and a head-up display is used to transmit all relevant
information in lieu of an instrument binnacle.
Voice activation technology is used for controlling multimedia and infotainment
systems, but in a nod to simple common sense and practicality, lights are
positioned at the far left and right of the dashboard to let the rear-seat
passengers know which way the cabin is about to lean.
And just who is the customer Toyota has in mind as the target for this type of
vehicle? In the company’s words: “A sophisticated, single, 30-50-year-old
active female with two children and a vibrant lifestyle. And she lives in a
SMESTO (small to medium-sized town).”