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Toyota zooms in on electricars for all – including the elderly

TOYOTA SPACESAVER. Image: Toyota Japan

TOKYO, Japan – Toyota has revealed details of a production-ready, ultra-compact, battery-electric vehicle ahead of probable launch in Japan towards the end of 2020.

Development chief Akihiro Yanaka told The Corner the vehicle, which is less than 2.5m long and 1.3m wide, is a next-generation mobility solution designed to cover short distances with little effect on the environment.

Yanaka added: “We want to create a mobility solution that can support Japan’s ageing society and provide freedom of movement for people at all stages of life. With this ultra-compact vehicle we’re proud to offer a vehicle that not only permits greater autonomy but also needs less space, makes less noise, and limits environmental damage.”

TOYOTA SPACESAVER. Image: Toyota Japan

The two-seater is intended to give mobility to people who make short trips – the elderly, new drivers, localised sales reps – and has a range of 100km on a single charge, can make 60km/h, and turns on a tickey.

TEST RIDES AT SHOW

For now Toyota will focus on expanded leasing initiatives designed to recover used batteries for evaluation and re-use as appropriate in pre-owned vehicles or even in non-automobile applications.

READ MORE Toyota features on Carman’s Corner

The automaker is also developing peripheral services for battery electric vehicles such as recharging stations and insurance.

The vehicles were on show and available for short test rides at the 2019 Tokyo auto show.

TOYOTA SPACESAVER. Image: Toyota Japan

Toyota has several versions in mind:

  • Ultra-compact BEV Concept Model for Business for repeated short trips and parking. It can serve as a mobile office with three modes to support travelling, working, and taking breaks.
  • Walking Area BEV Standing Type can be used for patrolling, conducting security checks, or carrying heavy equipment around large facilities such as airports or factories.
  • Walking Area BEV Seated Type provides mobility for people handling large amounts of luggage or who may have difficulty walking.
  • Walking Area BEV Wheelchair-linked Type connects to manual wheelchairs by providing motorised for use at large facilities and tourist locations.
  • Toyota i-ROAD is a short-distance mobility solution that combines the size of a motorcycle with improved stability to support ”last-kilometre” commuting or tourism.

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