We thought that the ultra-compact Smart Car-like commuter vehicle was dead. The Smart Car never really caught on and has fizzled into the past. While they make sense in more crowded urban settings they are a dud here. But Toyota thinks it can outsmart the Smart Car with its 2022 C+pod ultra-compact BEV.
On Christmas day Toyota announced the availability of its C+pod EV
That’s right, Toyota is coming up with a Battery Electric Vehicle. While it paved the BET’s way with the Prius hybrid, it has shied away from pure electric platforms. Until now. On Christmas day it announced the availability of its C+pod EV. It is not its first EV, having sold a limited amount of RAV4 EV electric crossovers back in 1997. This latest will only be available to fleets initially, with regular customers able to purchase one in 2022.
A single motor in the rear and lithium-ion battery propels the small car. It’s a two-seater, with a somewhat limited range of 100 miles. Top speed is just under 40 mph, with the motor only at a 9 kW peak. Charging stations are prevalent in Japan with almost 11,000 located at 4,200 charging centers.
The body panels are plastic in an effort to save weight. In total, the C+pod is just over eight feet long, with a 5.83-inch wheelbase. It weighs right at 1,500 lbs. Overall, it is smaller than a Smart Fortwo.
The C+pod begins an ambitious drive to produce 60 new EVs over four years
This is the beginning of an ambitious drive to produce 60 new EVs over the next four years. These will take in the traditional EV, hybrids, plug-in hybrids, and hydrogen-powered vehicles. A solid-state battery vehicle is expected before 2025. So, while Toyota has been delinquent in embracing electrification, look out now. It has got its foot on the throttle hard.
While we don’t expect to see the C+pod in the US this is just the opening salvo for Toyota. Expect an electric SUV by 2021, with more on the way. And once Toyota attacks a category, it goes all-in. So, yes, Tesla should be taking notice. Especially, once Toyota gets to solid-state batteries there will be a distinction buyers will pay attention to.
The game-changing solid-state battery will allow for longer range, and shorter charging times-like 10 minutes. Even the Japanese government is getting in on the act. It is helping companies using lithium-ion batteries procure rare metals while offering billion-of-dollars as an incentive to help manufacturers ramp up development and advance the EV technology.
The days of the gasoline engine are numbered.