The Toyota i-TRIL Concept Aims To Revolutionize Urban Mobility


Would you buy this instead of a conventional car?

This year’s Geneva Motor Show was eventful to say the least, featuring the debuts of many high-profile supercars, which perhaps overshadowed some intriguing concept cars that were also at the show that appear to want to transform the future of mobility. The most striking example was arguably the Pop.Up from Italdesign and Airbus, a self-driving electric car with a capsule that can be lifted into the air using drones. Toyota, on the other hand, has come up with a concept car aiming to revolutionize urban mobility: meet the i-TRIL Concept.

The i-TRIL is a fully electric three-seater, with a one-plus-two layout. Like the previous i-ROAD, it features Toyota’s Active Lean technology, allowing it to lean into corners like a motorbike, and is designed as an alternative to conventional city cars, hatchbacks, EVs and bikes. Toyota says the i-TRIL is designed primarily for parents who live in small or medium-size towns looking for an “agile and urban-friendly family vehicle that’s ideal for both chores and for social trips.” Measuring 3,000mm long and 1,510mm high, it’s shorter than other city cars like the Volkswagen Up!, while the front and rear tracks measure at 1,200mm and 600mm respectively.

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The body and front tires lean into corners thanks to a hinge between the rear axle and the cabin, while the powered rear wheels stay flat on the road surface. Butterfly-opening doors hinged on sloping front pillars allow for easy access into the cabin, but, conveniently, they can still be opened within a regular parking space. It is capable of operating fully autonomously, but having been conceived to be fun to drive, it’s more likely that owners will want to drive for themselves most of the time. Its target driving range is more than 185 miles (300km) between charges. The Toyota i-TRIL is powered by an electric motor and weighs just 600kg, but Toyota hasn’t specified the power output.

Between charges, it has a range of 185 miles, making it ideal for urban journeys. Inside, there’s a clear emphasis on comfort. Drivers sit in a relaxed and laid-back position similar to a go-kart on a seat with a comfortable central rib, and there are no pedals so drivers can stretch their legs in comfort. Instead, steering, acceleration and braking are controlled by drive-by-wire technology, using left and right-hand control nodes – Toyota compares this setup to PC mice and game controllers. A head-up display showing key information also replaces the dashboard. Whether the i-TRIL will go into production remains to be seen, but it’s certainly a unique take on urban transportation.

Toyota actually went on to build the i-Road, so we wouldn't be surprised if the i-TRILL follows.