The 2017 Geneva International Motorshow was full of forward-thinking surprises and in Toyota’s case that meant really forward thinking, to the year 2030 or so. Bringing Toyota’s vision of the future firmly into the present was the unveiling of their i-TRIL Concept car, a bubbly, eco-friendly, electric three-seater that one day hopes to accommodate all those young urbanites who really like to get around.
Designed in collaboration with France’s ED2 studio, the i-TRIL kind of looks like a high-end Car2Go decked out with plenty of futuristic touch-ups. In other words this thing is small and more or less round, coming in a just three metres long and 1510 mm high, and weighing a mere 600 kg. Leave it to the Japanese (with help from the French) to conceive a car that’s groundbreaking in theory and downright adorable in appearance, like something that leapt out of Mario Kart 64 and onto the stage. The cute little bugger is powered by an electric motor and hoping to travel about 200km before needing a recharge.
Since human driving will be so passé by the year 2030, the i-TRIL is naturally able to ride autonomously, but Toyota is claiming the vehicle is so intimately user-friendly that owners will opt to drive the majority of the time. And don’t be fooled into thinking the i-TRIL is just Toyota and ED2 geeking out–the concept car is 40 years in the making and anchored by a sincere desire to create vehicles that don’t hurt the environment.
On the other hand, the i-TRIL is also most definitely Toyota and ED2 geeking out. It utilises all sorts of innovative ideas, including “active lean” to handle corners with unprecedented efficiency. The butterfly-opening doors allow for seamless access and when they open the floor shifts to make entry and exit that much easier. Controls like steering and braking are fashioned after video game controllers and there are no pedals whatsoever. It uses artificial intelligence to create some next level interaction between the rider and the voice-activated Human Machine Interface. Lastly, when in autonomous mode all the controls retract into the vehicle to create more room for the passengers. The future is looking bright indeed!