Today Toyota Motor Corp announced plans to rollout 21 new hybrid vehicles in the next three years, the launch of a new EV later this year, and the production of a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle for retail sale in 2015.
The first car to come to fruition will be the pure subcompact Toyota EV based on its iQ model. The electric vehicle will be called the eQ and will be available in limited quantities in in the US and Japan beginning in December.
This EV will be in extremely limited quantities, in fact only about 100 for special fleet use will be produced. The cars will be expensive too, costing $45,000 USD. Not only expensive, the tiny cars will have a rather limited 62 mile driving range.
The $49,000 electric RAV4 EV goes on sale in the US today, September 24th.
It seems clear form this release that Toyota's pure EV plans remain rather limited compared to its core philosophy of continuing to promote and build on the gas-electric hybrid model started by the Prius. A company technology executive Takeshi Uchiyamada, known as the "father of the Prius" said he believes hydrogen fuel cells will occupy a more important position than battery only vehicles in the future due to their greater range.
Toyota currently sells a plug-in version of the Prius with an 11 mile range that is not selling very briskly. Overall Toyota expects to sell 1 million or more hybrid vehicles every year between 2013 to 2015.