Electric vehicles have been around for a lot longer than many people think. While we don't know for sure who made the first electric vehicle, we do know it was between the year 1828 and 1835, and credit has gone to a few different people. The first electric car that was practical enough to use and had a rechargeable battery came in 1859 with the invention of the lead-acid battery by the French physicist Gaston Plante. Things have moved on a lot since then and electric vehicles are becoming more and more common, mostly because people now know that we need to get around in more environmentally friendly ways to help the planet.
So while electric vehicles have been around for a long time, that doesn't mean their isn’t room for innovation in the industry. The Toyota i-Road is a super-compact, tandem two seater electric vehicle that offers a truly exciting and different riding experience with the same level of convenience as a motorbike. It’s small size means you can easily navigate heavy traffic cities and park in places a traditional cars simply could not.
How will you get to use the i-Road? Well Toyota will be using a car-sharing scheme that will integrate Citélib, the current car-sharing service of Grenoble. This will allow users to pick up one of the small electric vehicles at one location and drop it off at another, similar to how we currently see bicycle stations in major cities. This is going to be achieved through partnerships between project parents and communities such as EDF who are bringing about 30 charging stations to the project and tons of experience in developing electric mobility through charging infrastructures and battery tech. Sodetrel will bring it’s expertise to setup the charging infrastructure, as well as the commercial management for the charging stations and car-sharing for the public and private sectors. Toyota will develop the data management system which will enable the visualisation and reservation of the electric vehicles. This system will then integrate with Grenoble’s current transport system to offer the very best route planning with varying modes of transport, right from a smartphone.
The Cité Lib by Ha:mo app will allow smarphone users check for the closest car-sharing vehicles and book them, making things super easy. For the management of the vehicles, Toyota developed an innovative system that allows users to reserve cars and even check the amount of charge a vehicle has.