The Toyota I-Unit; would you drive it?

by Paul Michael on 15 June 2007 5 comments

iunit

We've been talking a lot about gas prices recently. That's no surprise considering we're paying almost three times more for gas than we were six years ago. The problems of oil refinery shortages, devaluation of the dollar and higher costs of extracting oil will not go away. So, what do we do?

Well, a few years ago Toyota launched something called the I-Unit at an Expo 2005 in Japan. At the time, I'm sure it was considered about as silly an idea as the Segway. But not any more. After all, most of us drive alone most of the time. We're always complaining about gas prices. We hate wasting money (especially if "we" are readers of this site). So, is the I-Unit really such a silly idea?

Personal Mobility - a concept, or impending reality?

The I-Unit is a cross between a motorcycle and an open-wheeled racer. Based on a leaf design, it uses some state-of-the-art technology to morph from an upright shape at low-speed to a lower, sleeker shape at top-speed (although I've searched everywhere and cannot find out what these speeds actually are). Here's a video that explains a little more...


Toyota One Person Unit - Free videos are just a click away

One of the most impressive features of the I-Unit, other than saving money, space and energy, is the built-in safety. I-Units can communicate with each other, and have accident-avoidance capability. Meaning however drunk or out of control one driver is, he can't pile into another I-Unit driver.

So, the big question still remains. Would you drive it? I aimed that question at myself and unfortunately, I said no...for now. Until I can be sure that it's safe on the road against a huge SUV, or significantly better with gas mileage without compromising speed, then I'd have to wait. At least until more folks had adopted them and they were a more common feature on the roadways.

I will be watching Toyota's I-Unit closely. It's been two years since the launch of the concept vehicle at EXPO 2005, and I'm sure these cars are more in need in the big cities than ever before. It looks like all those funky, tiny cars in futuristic movies weren't so far from the mark after all.

Photo by Kamome

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Guest's picture
Christine

I probably wouldn't drive it. Not because it's ugly (which it is!), but because it looks like there is no storage space. At the very least, when going to work, I have to carry my lunch with me and short of setting it on my lap, I'm not sure how I'd carry it in that car.

Guest's picture
jess

and how fast can it go? lol it doesnt look too protected from the elements either...

Guest's picture
Guest

it can go a maximum speed of 30mph, so it is not that fast really, i think when they make a new faster version, people should then buy it...when it comes out!

Andrea Karim's picture

I would think that that is what Charles Francis Xavier would ride around in, should he want to take a hike through the woods.

Guest's picture
TEC

One thing that most people are not really getting here is that who care how well its gonna handle in an accident with an SUV. I mean common no better then your standard passenger car is gonna handle up against a semi-truck. And a motorcycle is a heck of a lot less protected against crashes than the iunit. I think it is an incredible idea and if they can incorporate at least a little bit of storage and slightly faster, Then it could be an excellent way to travel around. In conclusion i think it looks like a beautiful piece of art and kind of fun, and i would certainly purchase one myself if it was available.