Diminutive but Electrifying
The Toyota FT-EV electric car concept that debuted at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show is based on the platform of the 57 MPG Toyota iQ microcar that recently went on sale in Europe and that is apparently already a hit in Japan.
Read on for more details.
So what features from the iQ can we expect to find in this electric commuter car? First, the space saving features that allow a 3+1 seating arrangement in such a small car (making the iQ the smallest 4 passenger car in the world, according to Toyota) would certainly cross over. They have to fit the battery pack somewhere, but losing the gas engine should free up enough space (the electric motor is much smaller). Secondly, the rear-curtain airbag (another first) will also surely show up to compensate for the very small rear crumple zone.
From Toyota's press release:
Toyota's FT-EV concept imagines an urban dweller, driving up to 50 miles between home, work and other forms of public transportation, such as high-speed rail. Although, for now, the FT-EV remains a pure concept, it represents a natural pairing of product strategies.
"Last summer's four-dollar-a-gallon gasoline was no anomaly. It was a brief glimpse of our future," said Miller. "We must address the inevitability of peak oil by developing vehicles powered by alternatives to liquid-oil fuel, as well as new concepts, like the iQ, that are lighter in weight and smaller in size. This kind of vehicle, electrified or not, is where our industry must focus its creativity."
These two rectangles you see in the rear window are the backseat's headrests. It's really incredible that they can fit a backseat at all in a car of similar size to the smart fortwo.
According to Toyota, we could see a production version of this commuter battery electric vehicle (BEV) in 2012, though who knows how much it will change between now and then (hopefully battery technology will mature quite a bit in the next few years).
At the time of this writing, we don't know more about the FT-EV, but that might change after Toyota's Monday press conference. Stay tuned...
Photos: Michael Graham Richard
See also: Our slideshow on 23 Electric Cars Driving the Revolution!
See Also the Toyota iQ
57 MPG Toyota iQ Goes on Sale in Europe, No U.S. Release Date Yet
Toyota iQ Microcar to be First in the World With Rear Curtain Airbag
Toyota iQ Urban Car Exposed at the Royal College of Art
Toyota iQ: The Smallest Four-Passenger Car in the World