thecarnut.typepad.com > 2007 TOKYO MOTOR SHOW PRESS DAY #1

Toyota "i-Real" One-Person Vehicle

Toyota "i-Real" One-Person Vehicle

Makuhari Messe, Japan

Toyota says their "i-Real" is a "personal mobility vehicle made closely in human scale as a step toward commercialization in the near future". Does this mean the i-Real, or a vehicle somewhat like it, will go into actual mass-production sometime soon? In the photo, the designer of this little get-about instructs a Japanese TV reporter on its operation. Many Japanese car-makers showed "1-person" vehicles similar to this, the "i-Real", at the Toyota exhibit. More than anything, these "vehicles" point towards a future Japan with a large number of elderly who may find it difficult to not only get around town, but also to drive a conventional car. These concepts appeal to the Japanese, where the over-65 age group is the fastest-growing in the nation, and the birth rate is actually in negative numbers. In fact, those Japanese over 65 are in a group which is larger than almost all other age groups combined. Simple, easy-to-operate and safe in-town transit is critically important to Japan's future due to the huge number of elderly, a group which continues to grow.

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