Brian M. Afuang
October 22, 2019    |    

This Toyota EV Will Hit The Road In 2020

Carmaker to display “production-ready” model at Tokyo Motor Show

AS THE 2019 Rugby World Cup plays out in Japan’s capital, the city also girds for another global event — this year’s edition of the biennial Tokyo Motor Show. New-car reveals are set to be held in front of the world press tomorrow, and among models which will be presented by Toyota Motor Corp. — the world’s biggest carmaker — on the show’s grand stage is an ultra-compact battery-powered electric vehicle, or BEV.

Two things are significant with the announcement of this car. The first is that the model heralds Toyota’s move toward full-electric transport solutions. The second is it signifies Toyota’s transformation from being a company that builds and sells cars into one that provides mobility access to all people. The car’s planned release in Japan in late 2020 is, simply, a part of a new Toyota business model that’s focused on the wider adoption of BEVs.


Well, the electric car’s presence on the traditionally vast acreage of Toyota’s display at the Tokyo auto spectacle also boosts the exhibit’s “Future Expo” vibe.

Toyota explains the two-seat BEV is designed for people who make regular, short-distance trips daily. It cites the elderly, newly licensed drivers and business owners visiting local customers as some of those who can benefit from such type of a vehicle. The car has a range of around 100 kilometers if its battery is fully charged and can reach a 60km/h top speed. Toyota promises an “extremely short” turning radius, which should make the car quite handy on tight urban streets.

“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,” said Akihiro Yanaka, head of the car’s development.


With the new model, Toyota says it is also exploring areas where compact, short-distance BEVs can be useful — like in serving the mobility needs of communities which embrace environment-friendly transport options. Toyota says it is already talking to around a hundred corporate and government partners which are studying the use of BEVs.

Along with pitching BEVs as mobility solutions, Toyota says it is considering boosting leasing initiatives because these will recapture used batteries, which can then be recycled and even used in things other than cars. Other peripheral services planned are recharging stations and insurance coverage.

A recent UK consumer survey found that by 2030 people will likely stop referring to EVs as EVs, but plainly as cars. With Toyota’s planned release of its new BEV, the future may even be nearer than people think.


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