Until last spring, Toyota had never seemed that keen on producing an all-electric car, claiming battery technology just wasn’t ready for an all-electric car - despite having produced an all electric crossover SUV back in the late 1990s.
Since then however, things have changed a lot. Not only has the Japanese automaker announced a plan to produce a modern take on its iconic RAV4 EV with electric sports car maker Tesla, but it will be unveiling an all electric version of its minuscule IQ city car at the 2011 Geneva Auto Show.
According to Toyota, the 3+1 EV prototype will feature a powertrain based on toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive system as found in the 2011 Toyota Prius, but without the gasoline engine.
The iQ is Toyota’s smallest car. With dimensions barely longer than the Smart ForTwo, it isn’t a car for the claustrophobic. What it does offer however, is an alternative vehicle for young families needing a round-town runabout.
2011 Toyota iQ
Toyota claim the iQ EV will feature an all-new flat lithium-ion battery pack capable of giving it a range of up to 65 miles per charge. Toyota hasn’t detailed speed yet, but we wouldn’t expect it to be a fun vehicle to drive outside of the city limits.
The iQ isn’t cheap either. At $16,089 for the gasoline version in Europe it is priced as a niche market vehicle rather than an affordable runabout. In fact, it starts at the same price as the iQ’s much larger sibling, the five seat Yaris hatchback.
That said, Toyota is reportedly planning that the price of the iQ EV will be lower than its Japanese rivals, the much larger 2011 Nissan Leaf and 2012 Mitsubishi i.
2011 Toyota iQ
Current plans for the vehicle include a series of European test vehicles this year, followed by a leasing program through 2012. Toyota insists it will bring the iQ EV to the U.S., although just like the 2011 Smart ForTwo we’re not sure just how many consumers will fall for its diminutive size.
Love it or hate it? Here’s one final thought to help you make up your mind. The Toyota iQ is sold to Aston Martin, which transforms it into the oh-so-expensive Cygnet city car.
An Aston Martin rebadged luxury city EV. Now that’s something we’d like to see.
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