• All-electric - 47kW motor and 270V lithium-ion battery
  • Cruising range of up to 65 miles on a full charge, maximum speed 78mph
  • Full battery recharge in four hours (AC), or 80% quick-charge (DC) in 15 minutes
  • European trials to start this year
  • Second generation RAV4 EV on course for US market launch in 2012
  • Toyota joins other automakers to promote charging infrastructure development
Recharge sockets are under hinged panel in front bumper

Recharge sockets are under hinged panel in front bumper

Toyota’s iQ-based EV prototype makes its European debut at the Geneva motor show on Tuedayas the latest model in an electric vehicle research and development programme that began 40 years ago.

A 47kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor drivers the front wheels, powered by an 11kWh, 270V lithium-ion battery located beneath the seats. A new, flat battery design, occupying space usually taken up by iQ’s flat fuel tank, means there is no impact on the room available for passengers or load carrying.

The prototype will accelerate from zero to 62mph (100km/h) in 14 seconds, has a top speed of 78mph and will cover up to 65 miles on a full charge. Two charging sockets are provided at the front of the vehicle for 100/200V AC and quick-charge DC power. They allow a full battery recharge from a 200V supply in four hours and an 80% charge from a DC quick charge station in about 15 minutes.

Trials will begin in Europe, the US and Japan later this year.

Second generation RAV4 EV

In partnership with Tesla Motors, in which it has a stake, Toyota plans to sell a second generation RAV4 EV in the US next year.

In preparation for this, 35 vehicles are being built for a demonstration and evaluation programme this year. The target is for the electric car to have a range of 100 miles in real world driving conditions, regardless of climate conditions.

Toyota Motor Engineering and Manufacturing North America’s (TEMA) Technical Centre in Michigan is leading the programme, which is designed to reduce development time without compromising product quality.

Tesla is responsible for building and supplying the battery and related components, meeting Toyota specifications for performance, quality and durability. Toyota is handling all other aspects of development and manufacturing, including the integration of the powertrain in the new vehicle.

Toyota and CHAdeMO

Toyota expects demand for short-range vehicles to increase in coming years, but recognises that EVs do not yet offer the kind of range that most customers would require for them to be considered as a primary form of transport. Furthermore, the cost of lithium-ion battery technology needs to be reduced, or a more affordable alternative found.

Electricity has high potential as an alternative energy source to oil, but although it can easily be supplied, production from renewable resources is fundamental to minimising EVs’ well-to-wheel CO2 emissions.

A recharging infrastructure also needs to be in place to bring about greater market acceptance of EVs. To promote this, Toyota has joined with Nissan Motor, Mitsubishi Motors, Fuji Heavy Industries and Tokyo Electric Power Company in the CHAdeMO Association to promote the rapid development of a quick-charge infrastructure for worldwide installation. Already, over 300 businesses and government bodies, including over 50 international companies, have taken up membership, including car makers, utility companies, charger manufacturers and charging service providers.