Scion iQ EV – Actual Sales Versus Toyota’s Initial Expectations


2013 Scion iQ

2013 Scion iQ

Every so often, we enjoy looking back at sales expectations versus the reality of sales today.

Our target today is the Scion iQ EV.

Back in 2010, Toyota had lofty sales expectations for the just-unveiled Scion iQ EV.  Toyota back then had claimed sales would be several thousand units per year.

The actual sales result is grim compared to what Toyota had targeted, with the automaker being almost wholly to blame.

Shortly after announcing that multi-thousand-unit sales target, Toyota went ahead with plans to essentially kill the iQ EV by making it lease-only and not available to the general public.

2013 Toyota Scion iQ

2013 Toyota Scion iQ

Essentially, the iQ EV became a fleet special, but only for select, hand-chosen fleets.  As a result, sales today in the US barely top 70 units cumulatively.  Approximately 20 more will be leased in the coming months, bringing the grand US total to 90 units.

Scion iQ vs Smart ED

Scion iQ vs Smart ED (click to enlarge)

Globally, sales of the iQ EV are equal to US sales plus 1.  That plus 1 is in use in Toyota City, Japan.

It’s Toyota’s belief that pure electric vehicles don’t offer the range that its customers are looking for, which is especially true of the Scion iQ EV (the lowest range EV on the market).  Of course, Toyota could solve this “issue” by fitting an electric vehicle with a large battery pack, but rather than do that, Toyota sees in its future the fuel cell electric vehicle.  Hence the reason why both the Toyota RAV4 EV and Scion iQ EV must die off soon.

Scion iQ EV specs:

  • 12 kWh lithium battery
  • US-rated range of “up to” 50 miles (down from previous estimates of 60+) – eventual EPA range – 38 miles
  • full charge (via 240v) in 3 hours
  • 47 kW (63hp) motor with 120 lbs.-ft of torque
  • zero to 60 mph in 13.4 seconds, and from 30 to 50 mph in seven seconds
  • 78-inch wheel base and 13.5 foot turning radius
  • three drive modes: D – power conserve for city driving, S – sport, and B which maximizes regenerative braking efficiency
  • top speed: 78 mph
  • Price: $45,000

As we previously wrote:

“It is clear that Toyota is attempting to recover some of the cost of research and development on this car, while also ensuring that it is not received in a manner that makes this car desirable enough for the public to pressure them to put the iQ into mass production.”

Ain’t that the truth.  Was then…still is now.

Category: Toyota


25 responses to "Scion iQ EV – Actual Sales Versus Toyota’s Initial Expectations"
  1. protomech says:

    Engineering / marketing exercise. Though TBH I don’t know what they’re marketing.

    Good job producing a vehicle that costs nearly twice as much as a LEAF, is significantly smaller / slower / less practical, gets about half the range (EPA 38) …

    1. Mean while … “The Smart Fortwo Electric Drive is selling like crazy these days” … at the two-for price of one Scion-iQ.

    2. Lausbub says:

      I think the aim of the project was to show that EVs will never sell.
      Bad for them that others have proven the difference.

  2. I like to think of this car as Toyota’s verification that battery electric cars are only for the “last mile”.

    They could not have built a less compelling car.

  3. Anon says:

    I blame CARB and their fuel-cell promoting foolishness…

    1. TomArt says:

      And who do you think pushed CARB in that direction?

  4. Mike says:

    Exactly. Toyota is only building hydrogen to pick up CARB credits, and nothing else. CA should DROP this Program Immediately.

  5. 38 mile range diminutive 2+2 seater for $45,000. What could possibly go wrong?

    1. David Murray says:

      Indeed. I can buy a Chevy Volt with 38 miles of EV range for less money.. plus I get 4 seats, cargo area, and a range-extender.

      1. Right. Not just less but $10,000 less. And a Nissan Leaf outperforms the iQ EV on every dimension for $15,000 less.

        Really hard to imagine what Toyota was thinking. Surely the development of 90 iQ EVs cost a lot more than just buying ZEV credits from someone.

        1. Ocean Railroader says:

          If it was me I would over hall the whole Carb Credit program. In that think they should have a few phase ins that EV’s in order to get credits must get a minimum EPA 120 miles on a battery charge in order to get credit.

          1. Anon says:


          2. TomArt says:

            For an overhaul, you would have to remember that, when the regs were written, there weren’t many EVs around. The regs ought to be updated in order to reflect the technological advances – like increasing the minimum battery capacity, etc.

  6. Tesla Fan says:

    Lol this thing is a joke

  7. Suprise Cat says:

    The ICE IQ was mostly gone from European market after 2 years…it wasn’t a successful model at all.

  8. jmac says:

    Toyota has people working on batteries as well as fuel cells. I would also expect that Toyota has people working on CNG cars, pure BEV electric cars and so on.

    Everyone knows or suspects that all major car manufacturers have R&D teams working at the same time on numerous alternatives to the straight up ICE paradigm that by and large has ruled the transportation sector for nearly 150 years.

    1. Anon says:

      Ever watch Indiana Jones?

      “We have top men working on it…”


      “Top men…”

      1. TomArt says:


  9. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Maybe they can do an Aston Martin Cygnet EV to “compete” with the ELR?

  10. Ocean Railroader says:

    What really makes this car a losermobile is that this thing had a 38 mile battery range. But I have heard stories of people converting this car over to electric in their garages and getting 80 and 100 mile ranges. I really don’t think Toyota cared when they build this thing.

    1. Bingo. This car could outsell the Smart ED with the same (or slightly more) range; because of its 3+1 seating. Front wheel drive is better for an EV (more potential regen) is another reason.

      Toyota is (unfortunately) betting on the wrong horse in this race.

  11. kdawg says:

    Is “Scion” Japanese for “Low”?

    1. TomArt says:

      Maybe it’s the opposite of Bansai! (may he live 10,000 years). Scion! (may you die swiftly).

  12. Fabian says:

    Toyota and other similar car manufacturers should be fined for wasting everyone’s time and toying with the CARB system instead of bringing meaningful compelling EV products into the market.

    1. TomArt says:

      Well, they are losing in terms of image and costs…mostly costs, I would imagine.