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Customizing Toyota i-Roads With 3D-Printed Parts

Originally published on EV Obsession.

Toyota is, despite its stated preference for hydrogen fuel cell cars over electric ones, currently in the process of putting its i-Road electric “trike” through a trial program.

As part of these ongoing trials, the company has, interestingly, begun asking users to “customize” the vehicles that they’re using via the addition of 3D printed parts. While each of these 100 trial users only gets to use the i-Road for a month each, the customization should make for a somewhat more interesting experience — free design ideas/modifications for the automaker if nothing else, I suppose.

image

Our sister site Gas2 provides a bit more information:

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.

It’s hard to say what the eventual fate of the i-Road EV will be — especially considering Toyota’s apparent unwillingness to pursue the EV market any further — but it certainly appears to have some promise, for niche applications. It’ll be interesting to see what happens with it.

Image Credit: Toyota

 
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Written By

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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