Adding to its list of debuts for the Tokyo Motor Show, Toyota has announced it will be introducing a production-ready ultra-compact electric vehicle ahead of a planned commercial launch next year. This tiny, two-seater tyke of a car is aimed at providing environmentally-friendly short-distance transportation.

Designed for those who make regular short trips, such as the elderly, newly-licensed drivers and local businesses, the as-yet-unnamed car is meant for low-speed commutes, with a quoted top speed of 60 km/h. It has a range of around 100 km and what Toyota claims is an “extremely short” turning radius.

With squished proportions, two doors and wheels pushed to the far corners, the car takes the form of an even more compact smart fortwo, sporting quirky design details like a blacked out front fascia, broad headlights, a large hexagonal grille, squared-off wheel arches and vertical tail lights. The side windows feature a small openable section, just like a McLaren F1.

Toyota sees further possible applications for the car, such as in municipalities looking to create safe, unrestricted and eco-friendly transportation options in urban and mountainous communities. The company says it has already engaged around 100 corporate and government partners to explore future transportation models that include EVs, and is conducting discussions with others.

This new EV will be part of a new business model to promote a wider adoption of battery electric vehicles. This will cover every step of a battery’s life to maximise its value, from its manufacturing, through its sale, resale or reuse, right up to its recycling.

Toyota says it will focus on expanding its leasing initiatives to recapture used batteries for evaluation. They can then be reused in pre-owned vehicles, as service parts or even for non-automotive applications. The company is also developing peripheral services for EVs, such as charging stations and insurance.

Alongside the aforementioned small EV, Toyota will also showcase a concept version meant for businesses. This sleeker, all-black model again has a two-seat interior that can be configured either for manual or autonomous driving, the latter allowing occupants to either work or relax.

Tags: