Ultra-compact car showcased at Miami Beach show

During the South Florida Automobile Dealers Association convention in Miami Beach last weekend, Toyota showed off its latest concept car: an ultra-compact vehicle slightly larger than a motorcycle.

According to product specialist Trevor Richardson, the I-Road is electric, can attain speeds up to 35 miles per hour, and is intended to be shared.

Richardson said the car is useful in metropolitan areas and around colleges, providing an alternative to riding a bike, taking an Uber, riding the bus and other forms of transportation. Though there’s no timetable as to when it will be seen on the streets, he said it’s something Toyota has been working on for over five years.

He said the design is nearly complete, but the company is still working on the drop-off stations as well as pricing. The city where it will debut has not been announced.

Similar to the CitiBikes found around South Florida, I-Roads would be strategically placed throughout an area. After getting to their destinations, drivers would drop them off for somebody else to use.

In a time when society is becoming more environmentally conscious, Richardson said it is important that the car be electrically powered. At least one attendee, though, focused on the convenience. “It would be more helpful than a bike if your destination is far,” said Daniel Granados, a student at the University of Florida.

He said the car’s size seemed to make it ideal to move through tight spaces, meaning less time stuck in traffic.

Another attendee said he would think about using the service if the cost was $75 or less a month.

“I would consider the I-Road service if there was an option for a monthly membership,” said Manuel Alvarez, a resident of Miami. “I would also need the cars to be stationed where I work and where I live.”

Ivo Caminata is a bilingual sports journalist at Florida International University. He hopes to be a sports play-by-play announcer to bring excitement to viewers during each game. He wants to present sports in a way that gets people from all cultures to develop the same passion he feels for sports. Caminata will graduate from the Lee Caplin School of Journalism & Media with a bachelor’s degree in digital and interactive media in 2024.