Toyota demonstrated its ultra-compact, all-electric i-Road vehicle at Toyota City, Japan, last week. The three-wheeled i-Roads (pictured), which weigh 300 kg and are less than 90 cm wide, was let loose on public roads at an event to mark its introduction into “Ha:mo”, Toyota’s optimized urban transport system. Soon, even more i-Roads will be zooming around Toyota city when they are made available to residents at vehicle-sharing stations. Later this year residents of Grenoble, France, will also be able to have some three-wheeled fun, thanks to a vehicle-sharing project that will last until 2017, Toyota says.
In other Toyota news, European Toyota and Lexus sales of hybrid vehicles reached an all-time high in 2013 totaling 156,863 units, up 43 percent year-on-year. Hybrid models now make up close to a fifth of total Toyota Europe sales including several countries out of EU. In Western Europe, 28 percent of all Toyota and Lexus sold are hybrid models, the company says.
In order to serve a growing customer base in Europe, Tesla will open more than 30 new service centers and stores across the continent. Tesla will also continue expanding its Supercharger network, allowing Model S drivers to travel long distances across Europe for free.
UPS has announced plans to purchase 1,000 propane package delivery trucks and install an initial 50 fueling stations at UPS locations. The propane fleet will replace gasoline- and diesel-fueled vehicles used largely in rural areas in Louisiana and Oklahoma with other states pending. The vehicles on these routes can travel up to 200 miles on a tank of propane. Operations will begin by mid-2014 and be completed early next year. The investment in propane vehicles and infrastructure is approximately $70 million.
ROUSH CleanTech has unveiled the first propane autogas fueled Ford F-59 to serve FedEx Ground’s high mileage route in Buffalo, N.Y. The owner of the vehicle, Jon Chase, CEO of Chase Delivery in Lancaster, N.Y., estimates his company will save more than $25,000 over the lifetime of the alternatively fueled delivery truck.
Dual-fuel engine management systems developer Clean Air Power has received an order for 19 Genesis-EDGE, Dual-Fuel™ trucks from an unnamed major distribution company in the UK. The order, which should be delivered sometime in 2014’s first quarter, has a value to Clean Air Power of around £0.5 million ($836,000).
Plug-in hybrid conversion technology company Echo Automotive has signed a supply agreement with electric motor firm Remy International that secures supply of components for the company’s EchoDrive™ plug-in hybrid system. In addition to ensuring the supply of components for the EchoDrive plug-in hybrid system, which is scheduled for production later this year, the agreement formalizes the development of an advanced induction motor system, Echo Induction Machine™, Echo says.