It may not be going on sale, but Scion's iQ EV has now arrived in the U.S, following the first production cars leaving the line in September.

Toyota killed plans to sell the iQ EV earlier this year, but promised a limited run of the four-seat, 50-mile electric car would still hit U.S. shores.

Around 90 cars will be made available for fleets, car-sharing programs and campus use.

Most efficient EV

The 2013 Scion iQ EV uses a 12 kWh battery with maximum efficiency of 24 kWh per 100 miles--enough for an EPA city rating of 138 MPGe.

Combined, it achieves 121 MPGe, ousting the 2013 Honda Fit EV--another car set for only limited use--from its top spot as most efficient car on sale.

Range is only 50 miles however, one of the shortest of any battery-electric vehicle on sale. Recharging time is a more favorable three hours at 240V.

As well as range, performance also lags behind its closest conceptual rival, the 2013 Smart ForTwo Electric Drive. With 63 horsepower to call upon the 0-60 mph dash takes 13.4 seconds, two seconds shy of the Smart's time to 62 mph. Top speed is an identical 78 mph.

The iQ EV should still feel peppy though, owing to its small size--and the turning circle should be just as small as ever. Different driving modes can increase performance, reduce energy use, or maximize regenerative braking.

It's also no less safe than the gasoline iQ, with the same 11 airbags and a host of three-letter acronym safety systems.

EV-unique features

In addition, a "vehicle proximity notification system" notifies pedestrians of the car's silent approach.

Outside the iQ EV is signified by two-tone paintwork, while inside it gains an EV-optimized LCD screen, to display electric car-suitable data like state of charge, energy flow and a range map for the navigation system.

2013 Scion iQ EV hits the U.S.

2013 Scion iQ EV hits the U.S.

While Toyota Motor Sales' Chris Hostetter says that "Toyota believes battery-electric vehicles have the potential to play a role in future mobility strategies", the low number of iQ EVs hitting the market suggests Toyota isn't quite ready to commit just yet, beyond the RAV4 EV--another limited-production "compliance car".

That's a shame, as (short range aside) the iQ EV looks like a thoroughly-engineered electric vehicle.

With greater range and a competitive price, it might have even had a chance at success. As it is, only a select few will ever get to enjoy it.


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