First introduced at last year's Geneva Auto Show, Toyota's bizarre i-Road doesn't seem like the kind of car that could ever make the leap from a rotating platform on a well-lit stage to the street. In fact, calling it a "car" seems like a stretch: it's more like a transportation pod beamed straight from the future, a narrow, electric, three-wheeled hauler that automatically leans itself sharply into turns. It seats just one — two, if you're working with particularly diminutive humans — and tops out at around 28 miles per hour. It does just 30 miles on a single charge.

And yet Toyota announced later in 2013 that it would be putting the i-Road into car-sharing trials in Japan and France. What's the appeal?