The i-ROAD Came to Our Kindergarten!!

Test Drive Pilots

One morning this April, at a certain kindergarten in the Shibuya Ward district of Tokyo...
The weather that day was mild and refreshing, with the children there having just finished their morning calisthenics and overflowing with energy.
Suddenly, a pair of i-ROADs pulled up in front of them! How did the kids react to such a surprise?
One morning this April, at a certain kindergarten in the Shibuya Ward district of Tokyo... The weather that day was mild and refreshing, with the children there having just finished their morning calisthenics and overflowing with energy. Suddenly, a pair of i-ROADs pulled up in front of them! How did the kids react to such a surprise?

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Thrilled by this car of the future

Thrilled by this car of the future

Rolling up to the kindergarten were two yellow and white i-ROADs. If the truth is told, this was not the first time for most of these kids to lay eyes on an i-ROAD. That’s because one of our Test Drive Pilots in an earlier session was a mother of one of the youngsters attending class here. However, this was naturally the first time for most of them to ever see such a car up so close, not to mention being able to actually touch it or go for a ride. In a flash, the space around the i-Roads erupted with the excited shouts and calls of the kindergarteners.

"White and yellow! They’re both so cute that I really love them!"
"I really want to drive one when I grow up!"
"Is this the car of future?"
"They look so cool – just like one-eyed monsters!"

The kids, who all appeared to adore all types of vehicles anyway, were overjoyed. They took a keen interest in the distinctive design of the front face, with the i-ROAD appearing to have captured their hearts for good!

Their eyes lit up as they sat in the driver’s seat, looking adorable as they gripped the steering wheel despite having their feet dangle well above the accelerator. With the kids certainly used to seeing cars all around them, their surge of excitement at the sight of a vehicle seemed rather rare at that. Fascinated with the totally unique 3-wheeler design, they appeared to have tuned into the futuristic feeling of the i-ROAD unseen in any other motor vehicle.

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Looking like even kids could drive them, with the moms spellbound too! "I feel like I can drive it." The moms spellbound too!

Looking like even kids could drive them, with the moms spellbound too! "I feel like I can drive it." The moms spellbound too!

Besides getting the kindergarteners all excited, the eyes of their moms also glistened at the appearance of the i-ROAD. Taking that occasion to ask the mothers about their initial impressions of the vehicle, there is a strong tendency to dwell on the apparent ease of driving these compact units.

"Since I don’t drive very often, I find it tough to negotiate cramped and winding roads. With such a compact size, though, it looks like a snap to turn and handle. I bet even a poor driver like me could bop around in peace of mind, and park with ease as well!"

The moms offered numerous remarks about what they saw as great everyday utility.

"I usually shuttle my child back and forth to the kindergarten on a power-assisted bicycle. But when it rains, we have to put on a raincoat and struggle along the way. Sometimes we make the trip on foot, but when I stop to pick up groceries I end up walking along with both hands full and weighted down. Driving an i-ROAD, I bet the trip to the kindergarten and back would be no trouble at all. It should also be easy to drive safely even when stopping to shop along the way."

"With power-assisted bicycles, there can also be a lot of time and trouble involved in recharging the battery. The i-ROAD appears to eliminate such hassle, with the ability to charge simply by plugging into a power socket certain to be a big relief!"

On this occasion, test runs of the "i-ROAD for Two" were made with riders in the backseat. That prompted comments about the smooth and pleasant driving sensations, noise-free running unique to electric vehicles and the great sense of stability rarely found in compact cars: "I want to signup to become a test drive pilot"; "I hope they appear on the market real soon," and other words underscoring the mothers’ infatuation with the i-ROAD.

Besides going to kindergartens, today’s young mothers are also kept busy shuttling their kids around to cram schools, private lessons and other activities. With the i-ROAD, it should be possible to lighten the burden of hauling the kids around to a great degree. On this day, the happy cries of the young children and the smiling faces of their mothers drove that point home loud and clear.

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TEXT BY Hirotaka Kuwata (contributor)
PHOTOGRAPHS BY Yuta Nishida / Tomoyuki Kato

ISSUED : 30 May 2016