With the Open Road Project, Toyota is bringing its i-Road EV to people and businesses

Toyota i-Road
Albert Khoury/Digital Trends
With its Open Road Project, Toyota aims to bring its prototype city vehicles to the people to aid in testing and development. According to a press release from Toyota, the world’s largest carmaker will launch round two of the Open Road Project from September 17, 2016 to March 31, 2017. The focus will be on the i-Road, an ultra-compact electric vehicle concept.

Demo models are provided to the members of the general public as well as large businesses and startups, and feedback and data are taken into account. Consumers, or “test pilots” have access to i-Roads, mostly in two-seater form, for two weeks to a month. Households with young children are the main target for this part of the project.

Toyota will also partner with associated services and companies to improve the experience.

For this second round of the project, Toyota is providing the i-Road to businesses to widen the range of assessment and acceptance of the vehicle. For example, a company may retain a fleet of vehicles as part of a shared-use program. The main targets include businesses without company cars, or those with cars that desire a variety of vehicles for different uses. These companies are using mostly single-seater i-Roads.

And as it did with the first round, the Japanese manufacturer will gradually increase the number of locations of the aforementioned associated services, which include exclusive parking spots and charging services, during the trial period. New services will be tested and developed as the program progresses.

A total of 96 test pilots were chosen from a pool of about 3,500 applicants for the first round of the Open Road Project, which only recently came to an end. The generally positive feedback included statements such as “The i-Road is really convenient because I can park it in very small spaces,” and “My range of travel has expanded because the i-Road helps me go anywhere easily.”

With these trials, Toyota’s goal is to study the best ways to develop its products and services not only for the i-Road, but also for the future of mobility.

The progress of this project will be published regularly on a specially established web page.

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