As in, smaller than a Smart car.
Toyota started the hybrid revolution with the original Prius back in 2000 but since then, the Japanese automaker has been reluctant to build fully electric vehicles. Instead, the company has doubled down on hybrid technology and pushed for greater adoption of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles like the Mirai. But Toyota is finally ready to introduce a few EVs (in the Japanese market at least) and will be showing off a production-ready vehicle at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show.
The car is called the Ultra-compact BEV (battery electric vehicle) and Toyota says it will go on sale in Japan next year in 2020. "We want to create a mobility solution that can support Japan's aging society and provide freedom of movement to people at all stages of life," said Akihiro Yanaka, Head of Development. "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."
The car (pictured above in white) is extremely small and has been designed for customers who only make short trips like the elderly, newly licensed drivers, or businesses visiting local customers. Since the car was designed specifically for city use, it can only travel 100 kilometers (62 miles) on a charge at a top speed of 60 kph (37 mph). Toyota also provided the dimensions of the Ultra-compact BEV, which sits at just 2,490 millimeters (98 inches) long, 1,290 mm (50.8 inches) wide, and 1,550 mm (61 inches) tall. That means the Ultra-compact BEV is several inches shorter, narrower, and lower than a Smart ForTwo Electric Drive.
Along with the Ultra-compact BEV, Toyota will show off a few other mobility vehicles including the Ultra-compact BEV Concept Model for Business (pictured above in black) and a trio of Walking Area BEVs (pictured below) including a seated type, standing type, and wheelchair type. None of these vehicles are expected to be sold in the United States, where Toyota has no immediate plans to introduce an EV.