While most automakers have already rolled-out battery electric vehicles (BEVs) for years now, Toyota has avoided building such vehicles. Instead, the Japanese automaker focused on building hybrids and even hydrogen fuel cell models like the Prius and the Mirai. However, it looks like Toyota is ready to join the battery-electric market, and its first production-ready model is this cute pint-size box on wheels.
Officially called the Ultra-Compact BEV, it is Toyota's first production-ready BEV and is set to launch late 2020. As the name and photo shows, it is very small. In fact, it is even smaller than the Smart ForTwo EQ. It only measures in 2,490mm long, 1,290mm wide, and 1,550 tall, making it the ideal vehicle to navigate the urban jungles like Tokyo.
Due to its compact size, the Ultra-Compact BEV is strictly a two-seat model. Toyota says it is designed to “meet the daily mobility needs of customers who make regular, short-distance trips such as the elderly, newly licensed drivers, or business-people visiting local customers”. The automaker did not disclose any specifics about their battery-electric powertrain. They only mentioned that it will have approximately 100km range on a single charge, a top speed of 60 km/h, and an “extremely short” turning radius. Perfect for the tight city streets, but not really ideal for long drives.
Design-wise, it has similar styling cues to the Smart ForTwo EQ albeit with slim, wide headlights and a large front grill. At the same time, it also looks like a Little Tikes toy car minus the red-yellow color scheme. No photos of the interior were provided.
Together with the production-ready Ultra-Compact BEV, Toyota also revealed the Ultra-Compact BEV Business Concept. It uses the same powertrain as the production-ready model, but will strictly remain a concept car. The Business Concept imagines a “mobile office” of the future that has a flexible interior. The two vehicles will be accompanied by a couple of Walking Area BEVs to be deployed at the 2020 Olympics.
We'll give you guys a closer look at the Ultra-Compact BEV once the Tokyo Motor Show opens this week.