Toyota Unveils Production-Ready Ultra Compact City BEV

Toyota looks like joining the race for micro BEV urban transportation with the launch of a new, production-ready, vehicle at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.

The car, joins others like the Bolt Nano, Renault Twizy and the Seat Minimó, in planning a future for city vehicles that overturns the whole expansion of vehicle chassis platforms that has been the touchstone for automotive designers for the last two decades or so. Now Toyota say its new car will be entering the Japanese market by late 2020.

Toyota describes the car as a next generation mobility solution designed for short-distance travel with limited impact on the environment. The two-seater BEV is designed to meet the mobility needs of people who make regular, short-distance trips, such as elderly people, newly licensed drivers, or business people visiting local customers. It claims a driving range of approximately 62 miles on a single charge and maximum speed of 37mph and a tight city friendly turning radius.

The automaker also plans a new business model that aims to promote the wider adoption of battery electric vehicles in general. This includes analyzing each step of the battery’s lifecycle, from manufacture through sale, resale or re-use to recycling to exploit its value. It will follow Renault’s lead with a 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 claims to be also developing peripheral services for BEVs, such as recharging stations and insurance.

Akihiro Yanaka, Toyota’s head of development, said: “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. With the Ultra-compact BEV, we are proud to offer customers a vehicle that not only allows for greater autonomy but also takes up less space, creates less noise and limits environmental impact.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_


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