Toyota has big plans regarding electrification and the Japanese market plays a big role in kickstarting the brand's EV lineup.
One of the first Toyota EVs to launch in Japan is the Ultra-compact BEV (battery electric vehicle), scheduled to arrive in local dealerships in late 2020. The model will debut in production-ready guise at the Tokyo Motor Show later this month, alongside an interesting Ultra Compact BEV Concept for business and several walking area BEVs.
Designed to provide short-distance mobility while limiting impact on the environment, the production-ready Ultra-compact BEV targets Japan’s aging society, aiming to "provide freedom of movement to people at all stages of life." More specifically, the two-seater EV is designed to meet the daily mobility needs of customers who make regular, short-distance trips. These users include the elderly, newly licensed drivers, or business-people visiting local customers.
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With that in mind, the driving range of around 100 km (62 miles) and the top speed of 60 km/h (37 mph) seem appropriate. Toyota also says the Ultra Compact BEV features "an extremely short turning radius" which should come in handy on narrow city streets. Styling-wise, there’s not much to say as the tiny EV definitely reminds us of the Smart Fortwo when it comes to its overall shape.
The planned 2020 launch of the production-ready EV will be paired with a new business model that aims to promote the wider adoption of BEVs. That’s why Toyota pledges to examine every step of the battery’s life, from manufacture through sale, resale or re-use, and recycling to maximize its value.
Alongside the production-ready Ultra Compact BEV, Toyota will showcase the Ultra Compact BEV Concept Model for Business at the Tokyo Motor Show. The sleek-looking study is designed for business applications that include repeated short-distance trips and parking, effectively serving as a mobile office "to support traveling, working and taking breaks using the vehicle."
The Ultra Compact BEV Concept Model offers three modes (Drive, Office, and Relax), each bringing a different interior configuration. Other vehicles on display at Toyota’s Tokyo Motor Show stand include the i-Road three-wheelers and three different Walking Area BEVs: Standing Type, Seated Type and Wheelchair-linked Type.