Toyota announced at a recent dealers' meeting that an electric version of its Scion iQ will arrive in the United States by 2012. Even though Toyota first entered the electric vehicle fray in 1997 with its leased RAV4EV, it has since sat mostly on the sidelines. That is set to change, and quickly. In addition to a new version of the RAV4 EV, Toyota is poised to introduce an electric version of the smallest vehicle in its repertoire - the Scion iQ EV. But with a limited battery range and interior size, it is unlikely to be an American superstar.
After thanking the 1,233 US dealers present at a recent gathering in Las Vegas for their joint contributions of $11.5 million (that is being used to help with the Japanese disaster relief), Japanese executives unveiled their upcoming plans. The Prius family launch is still in place, and the company is getting serious about “advanced technology” cars as well.
This includes the Scion iQ EV, which will arrive within the next 18 months. With a limited battery range of only 50 miles, and only suitable for four passengers, it is perfect for urbanites but unlikely to turn road trippers’ heads. Even so, this is a strong sign that the company is taking discernible steps towards a cleaner automative future. The next thing to look out for is Toyota’s first fuel cell vehicle, which should be on the road by 2015.