Toyota’s exhibits at this year’s Tokyo Motor Show were chock-full of battery electric vehicle concepts, but one of them stood out from the crowd. It’s their Ultra-compact BEV, and yes the name doesn’t sound very production-ready. But the vehicle itself is. It’s designed to provide short-distance mobility for Japan’s ageing society with no direct tailpipe emissions. Toyota is hedging its bets by investing in a future that has both BEV and Hydrogen Fuel Cell infrastructure in place.

“We want to create a mobility solution that can support Japan’s ageing society and provide freedom of movement to people at all stages of life,” said Akihiro Yanaka, Head of Development. “With the Ultra-compact BEV, we are proud to offer customers a vehicle that not only allows for greater autonomy, but also requires less space, creates less noise and limits environmental impact.”

PRESS RELEASE

It can be driven a range of approximately 100 km on a single charge, reach a maximum speed of 60 km/h, and features an extremely short turning radius.

Toyota is also pairing its planned 2020 launch of the Ultra-compact BEV with a new business model that aims to promote the wider adoption of battery electric vehicles in general. This includes examining every step of the battery’s life, from manufacture through sale, resale or re-use, and recycling to maximize its value. In the near term, Toyota will focus on expanded leasing initiatives designed to recapture used batteries for evaluation and re-use as appropriate in pre-owned vehicles, as service parts, or even in non-automobile applications. Toyota is also developing peripheral services for battery electric vehicles such as recharging stations and insurance.

In addition, Toyota is exploring applications for its compact, short-distance BEVs beyond individual mobility. For example, the ultra-compact BEV in particular is well-suited to meet the mobility needs of municipalities working to create safe, unrestricted, and environmentally-friendly transportation options in urban or mountainous communities. To date, Toyota is already engaged with approximately 100 corporate and government partners to explore new transportation models that would include BEVs such as the Ultra-compact BEV, and is in ongoing discussions with others. Current partners list here.

Toyota’s Ultra-compact BEV will be exhibited at the FUTURE EXPO special exhibition of the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show from October 24 to November 4 along with the “Ultra-compact BEV Concept Model for Business”, previously introduced on June 7, 2019. In addition, ticketed Tokyo Motor Show attendees will be able to experience a range of Toyota’s ultra-compact BEV mobility solutions at the 2019 Tokyo Motor Show OPEN ROAD exhibit. The Toyota i-ROAD and three different Walking Area BEVs will be available for test rides along the 1.5 km long path connecting Aomi and Ariake.