Toyota’s confidence in hybrid cars is obvious and the company is convinced that this technology holds the key to future transportation. What’s similarly obvious is also the fact that it has no plans to launch any electric car in the near future.

However we can’t blame Toyota for not trying its luck, as until now has showcased several electric concepts, namely the FT-EV and FT-EV II, and FT-EV III. All these concepts were seen as previews for a future electric version of the iQ city car. The new battery electric vehicle should have received the name eQ, but last month the company announced that drops all plans for selling the car. Toyota added that instead, it will manufacture 100 units to use them as a test fleet. The vehicles won’t be available for sale, but you can rent them for a short term.

The electric iQ uses a 47-kW (63 horsepower) electric motor paired with a 12-kWh battery which help it to achieve a range of up to 50 miles per charge.

Exterior and interior

2012 Toyota iQ EV Exterior
- image 478466

The Toyota iQ EV grows five inches in length and weights 275 lbs more compared to the gasoline model, but it keeps the same exterior style and interior space. However, there are a few modifications which help it get noticed in the crowd.

The most sticking difference can be found up front, where the EV gets a simple port lid which emphasizes the lack of an upper grille. The port lid received a trapezoidal shape and bears the blue-trimmed company badge in its center.

The bumper is slightly simpler than the one found at the gasoline powered iQ and is fitted with a longer air intake, flanked by two circular fog lamps.

To give the vehicle a distinctive appearance, Toyota decided to opt for a two tone paint job. Thereby, the upper half, including the hood and the rear hatch are black, while the other half is painted in either silver or red. More black paint was used for the headlamps casings and the battery cooling air inlets.

As we have mentioned before, the interior space wasn’t affected by the introduction of the electric powertrain and overall, the EV’s cabin looks pretty similar with the one found at the standard model.

Additionally, the EV cabin features a black and white color scheme complete with metallic and ice-blue inserts which evoke the electric nature of the car. There is also a lot of leather which helps to give the cabin a more upscale feel.

The upscale look is also enhanced by the modern HDD navigation system mounted in the center of the dash. The system comes with a 7 inch LCD which displays audio or vehicle information in a split screen with the map on the main navigation screen. Other features include heated front seats, and a heated windshield defroster.

Engine and performance

2012 Toyota iQ EV Interior
- image 478464

The iQ EV was build with maximum efficiency in mind and is equipped with a series of energy conserving features which include regenerative braking, heat pump air conditioning with a pre-conditioning option and LED stop lights.

At the heart of the car sits a 47 kW electric motor which delivers an output of 120 lbs.-ft of torque at zero rpm. The vehicle features three driving modes namely D, S and B. The first one is the most efficient mode and should be used only around the city, the second delivers an increased acceleration, while the third maximizes breaking efficiency.

If you select the S mode, the vehicle is able to go from zero to sixty mph in 13.4 seconds and from 30 to 50 mph in 7 seconds. Unfortunately the maximum speed is limited at only 78 mph.

The motor is powered by a pack of 11.6 kilowatt-hour batteries which weighs 366 pounds and can be recharged in 3 to 4 hours using Level 2 charging. Additionally the Toyota iQ EV also includes CHAdeMO quick charging that can recharge the batteries to 80 percent in 15 minutes.

The Toyota iQ EV is fairly well represented in the safety department and comes with 11 SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) airbags. The vehicle also gets Toyota’s Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST).

Other safety systems include hill start assist control and a vehicle proximity notification system to alert pedestrians of the vehicle’s approach.

Conclusion

2012 Toyota iQ EV High Resolution Exterior
- image 478471

Unfortunately Toyota’s plans for building an electric vehicle are now buried deep in a dark place and we don’t know when it will reconsider to bring them back to light.

Toyota’s motivation for its action was that battery technology isn’t ready, the market for EVs isn’t big enough to be taken into consideration and the hybrids are better. Though, we have to note that Toyota struggled for quite some time now, to crack the code of electric batteries, but all its efforts weren’t rewarded with the expected results, so its decision makes a lot of sense.

On the other hand, Nissan, General Motors and Ford, had more luck and managed to develop promising electric vehicles proving us that this technology could have a brighter future than Toyota expects.

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: