Toyota i-Road Tests Encourage Customization Via 3D Printing

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As far as Toyota is concerned, electric vehicles don’t have much use outside of dense urban environments. For long-range (and the long term) Toyota is investing into hydrogen fuel cell technology, though the automaker hasn’t completed abandoned EVs. The Toyota i-Road trike is undergoing trials in several countries, including Japan, where the automaker is asking users of the i-Road to customize their trikes with 3D printed parts.

100 trial participents are sharing 10 i-Roads, and they’re being asked to make them a bit more unique by adding their own touch of flair. Additionally, Toyota is asking testers to find small, creative parking spots where the i-Road can be plugged in, without taking up a precious full-sized parking spot, a rarity in many parts of Japan. The narrow i-Road can fit many places that not even Japan’s tiny kei cars can fit, which could make it a valued mode of personal transportation.

The 3D printed customization bit is pretty neat as well. While each tester only gets a month with the i-Road, they’re encouraged to adhere 3D-printed panels to add a touch of personality to their temporary rides. I actually really dig the i-Road, as an electric corner-leaning trike looks hella fun, even at low speeds. It’s enough to make me wonder what the world might look like if Toyota was as vested in EVs as it is in hydrogen.

Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.