Published October 18, 2012
By Philippe Crowe
Toyota did say there was not going to be an EV minicar coming from the company anytime soon, but Americans will feel the new EV to come from Toyota is plenty mini for them: the iQ EV.
And now Toyota Motor Sales (TMS), U.S.A., Inc. announced the arrival of the 2013 iQ EV in the United States.
To be sold under the Scion brand, the iQ EV is a battery-electric city commuter designed for car-sharing programs, in urban and campus environments.
“Toyota believes battery-electric vehicles have the potential to play a role in future mobility strategies,” said Chris Hostetter, TMS group vice president of strategic planning. “Up to now, cost and convenience issues have limited BEV’s appeal with a broad consumer market. Toyota developed the iQ EV specifically as a city commuter, for use in an urban environment, where driving distances are likely to be short, charging opportunities numerous, and its compact proportions beneficial.”
The iQ EV features Toyota’s newly developed high-output lithium-ion battery which delivers a world-class electric power consumption rate of 104 wh/km in an ultra-compact and lightweight package. In ideal stop and go driving conditions, the 12-kh battery provides an estimated range of up to 50 miles on a full charge.
The vehicle can be fully charged in approximately three hours at 240 volts. Its 78-inch wheel base and 13.5 foot turning radius makes the iQ EV highly maneuverable in congested areas where streets are narrow and parking is at a premium.
“Approximately 90 iQ EVs will be available for fleet and car-sharing applications,” said Hostetter. “These programs will further expand Toyota’s comprehensive portfolio of advanced technology vehicles which includes the recently-released RAV4 EV, the Prius Family of gas-electric hybrid vehicles, including the Prius Plug-in Hybrid, and the FCHV-Adv (Fuel Cell Hybrid Vehicle-Advanced).”
Details on individual iQ EV program partners will be announced in the coming weeks.
The development process for the iQ EV strongly focused on the conservation of power. A compact lightweight body, power-saving electrical equipment, and the application of experience gained from hybrid and plug-in hybrid development resulted in what Toyota considers excellent all-around performance.
It’s Scion-badged EV is replete with energy conserving features such as regenerative braking, heat pump air conditioning with a pre-conditioning option, LED high-mounted stop light, heated front seats, and a heated windshield defroster.
The car is also equipped with a timer to match charge completion with the time the vehicle will actually be driven, to help reduce battery degradation. In addition, there are three driving modes to select from: D range controls the vehicle to use the least amount of power during city driving; S range increases acceleration performance for brisker driving; and a B range that maximizes regenerative braking efficiency.
Maximum output from the drivetrain is 47 kw (63 hp) with a maximum torque of 120 pound-feet. In S range the iQ EV accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 13.4 seconds, and from 30 to 50 mph in seven seconds. Its top speed is 78 mph.
For such a small car – or perhaps because it is such a small car – the iQ EV is equipped with a surprisingly high number of airbags; the 11 SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) airbags include knee, side, seat cushion, front and rear curtain, and a rear window curtain airbag.
Like all new Toyota vehicles, the Scion iQ EV comes standard with the Star Safety System, which combines 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).
It is also equipped with Hill start assist control and a vehicle proximity notification system to alert pedestrians of the vehicle’s approach.
The iQ EV is manufactured at Toyota’s Takaoka Plant in Toyota City. Production began in September 2012.