Toyota recently stormed a TED conference to see what the people prone to think about such things might think about the Toyota i-Road. The response was favorable, to say the least.
The i-Road is a personal mobility vehicle—a vehicle that seeks to a part of the transportation solution rather than being part of the transportation problem. That problem includes issues like emission pollution, hyper-congestion, overcrowding, noise pollution, among many others.
How does the i-Road solve these things? First of all, it does so by being small. You could describe it as Phys.org did, as “a cross between a zippy scooter and an eco-friendly electric car.” It’s all-electric, rides on three wheels (two up front, one in the rear). A three-hour charge will get you 30 miles of range.
The most brilliant aspect of the i-Road is just how fun it is to drive. That’s important with green vehicles because it makes them that much more appealing. Jason Schulz of Toyota Motor Sales USA, who was on-hand for the tests at TED, said, “It is just a total blast to drive. We have seen so many ‘Tedsters’ come out of the car smiling and happy.”
Fifty years ago this month, the historic freedom march from Selma to Montgomery took place in order to take a stand for the civil rights of African Americans. In honor of that event, Toyota introduced “50 for 50,” donating $50,000 to four historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in Alabama.
Each of the colleges—Alabama State University, Alabama A&M University, Selma University, and Tuskegee University—played an important role in fighting for civil rights. It was students from these schools who participated in the 54-mile march.
A check donation ceremony was held during a luncheon on Alabama State University’s campus where representatives from each college attended.
“Toyota has a long-standing commitment to the pursuit of education and partnering with historically black colleges and universities,” said Adrienne Trimble, Toyota North America’s general manager of Diversity & Inclusion. “On this historic occasion, we wanted to recognize the four Alabama schools that played an integral part in the march five decades ago. Through this donation, we strive to support each school’s commitment to developing the next generation of leaders and working to make the world a better place.”
We at Bill Walsh Toyota are excited to see the results of Toyota’s support of these universities as the students continue to make a difference in today’s world as did the students who came before them 50 years ago.
Toyota recently shifted gears as a company in an effort to restructure and vary its leadership positions. The management team will become more diversified this year with the promotion of Julie Hamp to be the first Toyota female executive, Christopher Reynolds as the first African-American exec, and European Didier Leroy to the be the first foreigner to serve as EVP. Toyota as a company seeks to gain strength from the internal moves.
Toyota states, “by appointing talented people from affiliates outside Japan to executive positions, Toyota aims to foster innovation by enabling people from many different backgrounds to contribute and provide input.”
Toyota has crossed the Rubicon and is no longer just a Japanese carmaker, but a global car manufacturer with far-ranging leadership needs and requirements. Steering away from all-Japanese male decision-makers towards a more diversified leadership cadre will allow Toyota to find that “next-gear” and race into the future with refreshed vigor.
We at Bill Walsh Toyota are proud to be a part of such a great organization, and look forward to an even brighter future.