Toyota has revealed details of a new, production-ready ultra-compact battery-electric vehicle (BEV) ahead of a planned commercial launch in Japan late next year. Development chief Akihiro Yanaka said the vehicle, which is less than 2.5 metres long and 1.3 metres wide, is a next-generation mobility solution designed to cover short distances while limiting impact on the environment.
“We want to create a mobility solution that can support Japan’s ageing society and provide freedom of movement to people at all stages of life,” Mr Yanaka said. “With the ultra-compact BEV, we are proud to offer customers a vehicle that not only allows for greater autonomy, but also requires less space, creates less noise and limits environmental impact.”
The ultra-compact, two-seater is specifically designed to meet the daily mobility needs of customers who make regular, short-distance trips such as the elderly, newly licenced drivers or business people visiting local customers.
It has a range of approximately 100km on a single charge, reaches a maximum speed of 60km/h, and features an extremely tight turning radius.
Toyota is also pairing its planned launch next year with a new business model that aims to promote the wider adoption of battery electric vehicles in general. This includes examining every step of the battery’s life, from manufacture through sale, resale or re-use, and recycling to maximise its value.
In the near term, Toyota will focus on expanded leasing initiatives designed to recapture used batteries for evaluation and re-use as appropriate in pre-owned vehicles, as service parts, or even in non-automobile applications.
Toyota is also developing peripheral services for battery electric vehicles such as recharging stations and insurance.
The vehicle will be displayed at this month’s Tokyo Motor Show along with the Toyota i-ROAD and three different “walking area” BEVs that will be available for test rides on a 1.5km path.
Toyota’s BEVs: Types & Main Features
• Ultra-compact BEV Concept Model for Business is designed for business applications that include repeated short-distance trips and parking, this model serves as a “mobile office” with three modes to support travelling, working and taking breaks.
• Walking Area BEV Standing Type can be used for patrolling, conducting security checks or carrying heavy equipment around large facilities such as airports or factories.
• Walking Area BEV Seated Type provides mobility for people who are handling large amounts of luggage, or who may have difficulty walking.
• Walking Area BEV Wheelchair-linked Type connects to manual wheelchairs by providing motorized power to them for use at large facilities and tourist locations.
• Toyota i-ROAD is a short-distance mobility solution that combines the size of a motorcycle with improved stability to support last-km urban commuting or tourism.