While closing down its Rav4 EV production in California, Toyota has just activated its electric vehicle sharing scheme in France.
As we earlier reported in The Green Optimistic, the company is offering residents of Grenoble the chance to drive its electric vehicles under the “Cité lib by Ha:mo” program. Two EVs are being rented out, namely the three-wheeled Toyota i-ROAD and the Toyota Auto Body COMS. There will be 35 units of each model made available for short trips within the city. Residents can book the small cars, if they can be called that, using a smartphone application.
Toyota is in fact refraining from calling the i-ROAD a car. It can lean into a curve like a scooter, but on three wheels. Toyota describes this movement, that is reminiscent of someone skiing downhill, as Active Lean technology. Like a scooter, also, it can accommodate two people. The i-ROAD is propelled by a front wheel drive that uses not one, but two, electric motors. Steering is done through the Active Lean technology of which the third wheel plays a key role. I guess that’s what makes it fun.
Initially, 27 charging stations will be put up, but another 93 charging stations will be put up, for a total of 120 charging points. Another 41 will be put-up for other plug-in vehicles. The charging stations will be set up and operated by another company, Sodotrel, a subsidiary of energy company EDF. This is all part of the city’s master plan dubbed “Smart City”. This program aims to improve mobility while reducing traffic and carbon emissions and enhancing the city’s air quality.
The service became available on October 1 and will go on for the next three years. The service costs 3 euros for the first 15 minutes, another 2 euros for the next 15 minutes and just 1 euro for the next 15 minutes. The cost is reduced further for Grenoble denizens who buy the annual transport card.
Toyota is the latest company to join the ranks of car makers that offer car-sharing. This is in order to keep up with trends where city residents rely on public transportation and car-sharing rather than buying cars. I guess that they finally realized how much fun it is to share.